In my last post Getting started with Jive for Project Managers, I introduced using Jive as a Project Manager's utility for organizing project collateral, a place for collaborative discussions and planning, and a community for telling the story of a project as it unfolds.

 

Now we're back and getting our hands a little dirtier.  In this post, I'll discuss setting up our Project using Overview Pages and Activity Pages.

 

Overview Page

The Overview page is a Jive tool that uses objects called Widgets to present content and information.  Widgets typically contain links to content, display raw information, or are interactive with the user.  The types of Widgets to use on your Overview page will vary depending on the specific needs of the task at hand, but there are a few that I find especially useful regardless of what kind of Project I'm running.

 

Unanswered Questions

This is probably my all-time favorite Widget.  It gives me a quick snapshot of the open issues affecting my project.  Nothing is as helpful to a PM as quickly seeing the issues that are pending and being able to quickly examine and act on them.


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Recent Activity Widget

Recent Activity gives me a quick snapshot of what's been going on since I last visited my project, and I can interact with the conversations happening directly from the landing page without having to do the extra legwork of loading each of those discussions in a separate tab.


Featured Content

A must-have for any project.  Content that is 'for everybody' like project plans, issues lists, scope trackers, technical documentation, and test plans should be added to the Project's 'Featured Content' and displayed via the Featured Content Widget.

 

View Doc

This Widget is extremely flexible.  It simply displays the contents of any Jive Doc specified.  I use this mainly for key personnel rosters, but you will find many things to do with this Widget.  The important thing to remember about the View Doc Widget is: Don't over-do it.  Don't point it at a particularly hairy or complex Doc, just keep it simple.

 

Featured Places

This Widget is great for pointing users at other key Jive Places relevant to your Project.  For example, let's say that you're running a cross-functional project that is the work of 3 separate teams within your organization.  You could use this Widget to display the team Groups on the Project page, or to give your Project some external context.  You could also link to a Group that is a knowledge base containing helpful resources about the work you are doing.

 

Recent Blogs

Another one of my favorite Widgets.  This one shows me, in most-recent order, links to Blog Posts that have been published in my project.  Since I use the Project Blog to publish status reports, this implicitly becomes a 'Status Report' Widget.  Stakeholders now have one place to look for a quick, comprehensive history of the Project.

 

Categories

If I'm using categories to manage a large volume of content, then it can be helpful to display the categories I'm using so that people have a visual reference and a quick link to the categorized content.

 

Upcoming Events

For efforts organized around a tight deadline or key events, an Upcoming Events Widget can be helpful for displaying key dates in the Project.  In order for these to appear in the Widget, you must publish Events into the project.  I strongly recommend that you do not create an Event for every single meeting or activity on the project -- only do it for key dates, otherwise you will have a flood of events that could've just been sent out as calendar hits, and you dilute the significance of the really important Events.  Using Events + the Upcoming Events Widget is all about adding emphasis on very important, non-routine dates.

 

Activity Page

Activity pages are best for smaller teams, simple projects, or projects where you just want to focus on what's happening right now.  Two-thirds of the layout is focused entirely on Recent Activity and the other one-third is left to you to curate.  The advantage of using an Activity page is that you don't have to worry about curating a lot of content for presentation on the main landing page.  Keeping it simple helps you focus on the critical efforts at hand without a lot of extra setup and curation to slow things down.


Whereas the Overview Page uses Widgets to present information, the Activity Page has an similar tool called Tiles.  Tiles can contain both static and dynamic content. Developers can create custom Tiles to display content from other sites and systems.  Below are some of the Tiles that I consider key when running a Project with an Activity page.

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Upcoming Events

There are two flavors to this Tile; an automatically-populated one, and a manually-populated one.  Manual is definitely simpler because it doesn't require that you create Events in the project to display anything in the Tile, you just give the Tile textual information about events and the dates are displayed on the landing page. Automatic is useful if I have more dates to show, or if I want others to have the ability to add Events to this Tile by creating an Event in the Project.


Helpful Links

This Tile is extremely flexible.  By providing it a hyperlink, title, and a link to an image for a link icon, it displays a list of whatever links I define.  I use this Tile to provide quick links to the Project Blog and Unanswered Questions on the Content tab, or to link to external systems that play a role in my project, such as a test environment, or development tools.


Featured Content

Making an encore is the Featured Content Tile.  This Tile displays items that I add to 'Featured' posted within my Project.  I use this to provide quick links to Project Plans, tracker Docs, contracts, and other important collateral.


Key Content and Places

Key Content and Places is a Tile that can present any content or place within my current Jive instance that I specify.  If there are other Groups, Spaces, or Projects critical to my Project, I can link to them here; likewise, if there is content posted elsewhere that plays a role, I'll link to it here as well.


Featured People

Featured People is a quick, visual way to denote who the key players in my project are.  I use this Tile as my personnel roster.


Activity + Pages

For customers running on Jive Cloud, a third option exists in the group setup called 'Activity + Pages.'  A Place Page is a way for a Place owner to have a blank canvas with which to display information using Tiles instead of Widgets.  When you provision your Project, you can add up to 5 Place Pages to organize your Project collateral to your heart's content.


The advantage to this setup over Overview + Widgets is that Tile Pages are fully responsive on mobile web.  Whereas Overview pages and Widgets are incapable of being rendered at a narrow, mobile width, Tiles were designed with this in mind explicitly from the beginning.  The means that anyone, anywhere can interact with your project in a fully responsive page that retains your community's personality and branding, and the total view of your curated Project collateral is preserved.


For more information about Place Pages, checkout: Sneak Peek: Deep Dive for Place Pages (beta)


Thanks for checking out this post!  In my next post, I'll discuss managing a Jive Project once it is up and running.


Let's hear from you in the comments below

  • How do you like setting up your Project pages? 
  • What are you favorite Widgets and Tiles?
  • Do you have any Widget or Tile 'hacks' you're proud of?
  • Have you developed any custom Tiles, and how are you using them?


Read the next in this blog series: Jive for Project Managers III: Running Your Project