The Project Guild: a Micro-community for distributed project environments on SharePoint

In my previous post, I provided an overview of distributed micro-communities built using the Spirit Group Blog Service and served up a “day in the life” video of Idea Central – a micro-community for contributing and collaborating on ideas.  In this post, I’ll look at another example of a micro-community called Project Guild that puts very useful collaborative capabilities at the fingertips of people working on projects across a SharePoint environment.

Project work is typical in a SharePoint environment.  Typically, the projects are separate sites, distributed across a SharePoint environment.  Apps such as the CorasWorks Project Portfolio Management (PPM) do a great job of integrating the hard-core, structured, project management elements.  You can have a PMO, multiple project portfolio dashboards, and many, many project sites – all operating as an integrated system.  And, it is all centrally configurable – which is great.

But, what we are missing is the project community.  Sure, people work on specific projects in a structured way.  But, in the real world, people need information, policies, processes, training, help, tips and additional resources to break through bottlenecks in the critical path.  What is missing is a collaborative community where all this unstructured information, collaboration, and communication can occur to support the success of the people working on all projects.  

This is where our example, the Project Guild micro-community comes in.  It differs from the Idea Central micro-community like this: Idea Central is for a broad community focused on contributing and collaboration; Project Guild is a narrower, more job focused micro-community driving content dissemination, collaboration, and communication (hence the Guild name).

As a solution, it is a distributed, community service.  The information and functionality is centrally managed.  Yet, the users are able to participate from everywhere across SharePoint and even beyond, i.e., no need to go to a place to participate.  Below we have a diagram of how it lays out with people participating from the PMO, Portfolio dashboards, Project Sites, Team Sites, regular SharePoint sites, and even via a Virtual RSS UI. Anyone from anywhere can listen in and chime in.

project guild

In the following “day in the life video” we’ll show you how various people that are part of the “Guild” collaborate via the Project Guild distributed, micro-community. They “socialize” documents, share information, collaborate, and engage in activities to help each other succeed.  Now, we show a lot of the work in the context of the CorasWorks PPM modules but you can be doing this with any SharePoint sites or even (dare I say) competitors solutions.

Click here to view the Project Guild video (runtime 11:20)

As you can see from the video, you can really start to add a whole new layer of rich collaboration to a project environment by adding a distributed micro-community along these lines.  The ability for the PMO to easily disseminate documents to every nook and cranny instantly is really a breakthrough.  The Resource APB (All Points Bulletins) process is just tagging applied to a real world situation that leverages the community.

I hope this video helps get your mind going.  I think this one has legs and is the type of solution where we can start to leverage the Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 approaches in a classically structured work environment on SharePoint.


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