Hey, I need to work on that… I'll let you know when I'm done!
One of the benefits of collaborative documents in Jive, is that users can make changes any time they want. Users need to be able to respond to each other and share ideas in real time and that means the system they use needs to help them connect with one another, throughout the process. In short, it needs to answer questions: Who's working on this now? Are they finished? Can you let me know when you're done? Can you make this one change? This can be especially tricky with Uploaded Files like presentations, contracts and long-form documents that have many contributors, all of whom need to work in a separate application, with downloaded copies. Think about those little changes, too… It's simply easier to ask the person who has the document to "swap slides 4 and 7" than lock users out for lengthy periods.
We've worked hard to find an answer that encourages the right level of communication and teamwork and in the Spring release, we'll introduce the first version of a better way… Reserved Documents!
Reserved documents are the Jive alternative to complex document workflows—it's simple, social, and stays out of your way, unless you need it.
Cool. How do I reserve a document?
Every Uploaded File and Document now features a "Mark as Reserved" action. When users click it, the document is reserved and two things will happen:
- Anyone following the document or place where it resides will get a Jive Inbox notification (and email, if they have it enabled). When a document is reserved, all collaborators know instantly who reserved it and when.
- A "Reserved" badge is placed on the document. Anyone viewing the document will see the badge, along with the name of the person who reserved it.
Now, what happens if a user tries to edit a reserved document? They'll see a prominent message at the top, indicating that someone else has reserved it and warning them that the other user might still be working on it. Also, when changes are published to a document, the reservation is removed. (Note that anyone who's contributed or following the document is notified of the edit—this is previous functionality.)
So, imagine someone has uploaded some financial data in Microsoft Excel format, in a group for Financial Reports. Six different people need to add their details to this spreadsheet. The first person, John, comes along and reserves the document. The rest of the group now knows John's working on a copy of the document and once he's done, they're notified. Next, Mary reserves the document. But what if John forgot to add a small detail? No problem: John can easily tell who's reserved it. Rather than wonder who might be working next or risk overwriting Mary's work, John can have a direct conversation with Mary… they can discuss it:
- Perhaps Mary hasn't even started her changes. John can just upload his changes—he can even cancel Mary's reservation (using "unmark") if he needs to. (Remember, he's not locked-out!)
- Maybe Mary and John agree to meet independently to discuss the figures in the spreadsheet or start a Discussion in Jive.
- Mary could even agree to add John's change, if it's small enough, saving them both time. That's teamwork!
In an external community, this works pretty much the same, but an additional use case becomes evident. Putting a reservation on a document is essentially politely asking others not to make changes. This can be useful for a document that's essentially finished, but it's important to indicate that you're the current owner. People know they should contact you, before making a change. (And you'll know if they do.)
A few notes:
- When a document is reserved, it's not "locked", so any co-author can publish changes, or upload a new version, if they need to. (They'll know if there's a potential to overwrite someone's changes.)
- Reserved documents cannot be marked as Final, Official or Outdated. Doing so will will cancel the reservation.
- You can filter content to find reserved documents, too.
This new capability is actually a Jive Structured Outcome. That means it builds on some capabilities already in place, within Jive, but takes it a step further. We'll continue to watch how people use this and other Structured Outcomes to add improvements over time.