As the community manager for our internal employee instance of Jive at Jive, I am both empowered and challenged with pushing the boundaries of how our product gets used internally. From diving deep and exploiting the dark nooks of our features to embracing a completely unintended use case of our product, we try to be a dogfooding powerhouse. But even prior to features getting rolled out, it is my charter to ensure we are prepared for the roll out and that the feature is set up for successful usage. I am eager to share my processes, ideas, learnings, tips & tricks with you.
What better way than to start with our News feature! This 2015 Winter Cloud release feature has made consuming and engaging with key company and leadership announcements so simply effortless for our global Jiver (Jive employee) base. Here is how we planned the News roll out.
1. T-20 Days to Go-Live: Identifying what "News" means to us
The News feature fuels and amplifies the reach of the content it carries. So you really want to make sure this content feed is what employees want and need to stay aligned and do their jobs effectively. 'News' content to us is a lot of things: First and foremost, Jivers want to know what our leadership team is talking about. We want to know what is happening within our own departments and within our offices. We want to make sure that all new Jivers are properly welcomed with memes and animated gifs when they write their first week blog post. We want to keep an eye on our product roadmap. And of course, we all want to know how our customers and the world are responding to everything that we create.
Identifying these top level news buckets was important for me to figure out what auto-subscription streams to set up.
2. T-15: Setting up News Streams Auto-Subscription
Yes, auto-subscription. News lets us automatically subscribe the entire community (the entire employee-base in this case) or a subset to specific content feeds / streams. This feature has sometimes been called "auto-follow" or "subscription streams".
These selected content streams then show up on their News page, in addition to any custom streams that the employees have configured for themselves.
Here are the steps I took to set up the auto-subscription steams:
T-15: Company-wide news
The first step was identifying what new streams were needed across our entire Jiver community. We narrowed it down to:
- Leadership/executive posts
- Product news
- Top press releases
So I created a company-wide leadership stream that was associated to the blog spaces of every member of our executive management team. I also created a company-wide 'Products' stream that was linked to our Products space and also to the blog of our Chief Product Officer.
T-12: Departmental or role-based news
Next, I needed to ensure Jivers were subscribed to key information relating to their job functions and departments. I met with the department leads and enablement experts - across all different functions from corporate communications to engineering - to find out how they have been trying to reach their target audience.
Were they blogging in a specific space or a group?
Did they provide updates in their own personal blogs?
How were these space and blog permissions set up?
Each function had their own unique way of capturing and publishing important communication so it was critical for me to take an inventory.
T-8: Location based news
Last but not the least, we had office location specific sub-spaces that Jivers needed to be subscribed to based on their location for information around local events, holidays, facilities updates etc.
3. T-6: IT considerations
The departmental news and location based news obviously needs to be mapped based on the Jiver's corporate profile information. I brought in our IT team to help choose those profile fields that were automatically synched with the enterprise directory. These fields are synchronized on a daily basis, so even when a Jiver transitions to a different department or office location, their streams will be automatically updated and I won't have to lift a finger.
4. T-2: Managing Change
Actually, this was the day our internal instance was upgraded to our 2015 Winter cloud release. Why day T-2 then? Because we toggled-on the News feature only 2 days later. Hurray for feature toggles! That said, we did start prepping Jivers for the toggle-on day:
'What's Where' End User Guide
Even though Jivers are pros at using our product, I always want to be sensitive to how large new features are introduced so as to make sure that the experience changeover is as seamless as possible. I took tons of screenshots and created an End User Guide where I visually highlighted all of the upcoming changes and addressed potential questions in an FAQ section:
- What happened to the homepage?
- What happened to my inbox?
- Where is 'Your View'?
- How can I browse content and places now?
- Can I pin Inbox or Your View as my landing page?
'What am I auto-subscribed to?' list
I also put together a list of what streams one can expect to be auto-subscribed to.
5. T-0: News Go-Live Day!
Our product manager for the News feature, Nick Hill and his team wrote a cheery welcome blog on the morning of News go-live (i.e. feature toggled on) so that it was the first content people saw in the new News stream after logging in. Combining this blog with a system wide announcement re-mentioning the end user guide gave Jivers a well-defined, smooth experience when they logged in and noted all the changes.
There has been so much positive response from Jivers both on the new feature and around all the on-boarding efforts!
Beautiful, Simple, Powerful
Our product philosophy here at Jive is that products and features should not just be functional, but also simply beautiful and deeply personal. Our newest News feature has definitely met that high standard. Within the Jive employee community, News has been nothing short of an incredible success at making us more connected, informed, and engaged. We also hope it will do the same for the millions of end users across our incredible customer network.
This whole initiative has also been personally rewarding for me because it has opened up new avenues for me to partner more with our executive staff and department leaders. I am seeing my role being elevated to that of a strategic employee/people champion.
As you gear up for this beautiful change, please reach out to me with any questions. I am also eager to learn from all you community managers - your best practices, tips & tricks, recommendations, ideas and more. Please share them via the comment section of this post or via creating your own posts/discussion threads.
Senior Enterprise Community Manager @ Jive