We’re loving Yammer: Agile social productivity
In early 2000 we started using a private forum (XMBForum) to provide us with a fast and simple Intranet. Adoption was pretty good but lots of good tools have come along since and we’ve used our fair share including 37Signals’ Backpack & Campfire and Skype. We’ve recently adopted Yammer to replace both Backpack and Campfire that seem to have reached the end of the development cycle as 37Signals head off in their new BCX direction.
We’re liking Yammer a lot. My experience with using Yammer to promote an Agile environment highlighted a number of clear benefits. After just a few weeks I can file my early report, A+ and looking pretty good for the future.
Reduced Email: I loathe email, it’s disruptive, poorly threaded and clutters my life up and with Yammer I’ve seem my email level drop like a stone. Now, staff simply yammer a question and I respond accordingly. The visibility of my responses also serves to assist other staff who may have the same question or are facing a similar problems.
Improved Networking: In large companies, it can be difficult to track staff with particular skill sets. Yammer exposes the skill sets and expertise of staff from the quality and content of their posts or their participation in online conversations. Frequent posts and responses on Yammer promote folks expertise and thought leadership.
Reward & Recognition: Yammer contributes to building strong working relationships with my colleagues, suppliers, clients and staff. I prefer to publicly thank other staff who have assisted me in projects through Yammer. My appreciation for their assistance is visible to all staff and much more powerful than a ‘one to one’ thank you email. As an aside, Yammer replaced our SEND LOVE application we had being using previously.
Improved Brainstorming: Yammer provides a simple platform for rapid brainstorming of an idea. Simply post the idea or question and ask for feedback. Everyone jumps in to contribute their thoughts. It’s quite amazing to watch the spread of an idea in real time.
Self Organizing Teams: Yammer transcends traditional organisational structures. Staff have the ability to set up their own groups of interest or practice regardless of the division or department they are working for.
Promotes transparency: Yammer is focused on staff answering the simple question of ‘What are you working on‘. When everyone shares updates or challenges on projects/initiatives, everyone has a greater visibility of the work that is currently in progress. This reduces risk of similar projects running concurrently within silos. This feature also allows me to proactively influence projects that require assistance with design or usability.
Improved Search: My daily ‘yams’ of interesting articles and links have just started to include include hash tags that concisely describe the content of the posts. Hash tags facilitate rapid search activities through the archives for messages relating to usability or design. This replaced us using Diigo and Delicious.
Reduced meetings: The collaborative, conversational nature of Yammer encourages online conversations around a particular topic. In essence, Yammer provides a platform to accurately record the contributions of everyone who chose to participate. This is far more powerful and efficient than holding a meeting and distributing ‘meeting minutes’. It has also seen a lot of discussion-type content staying off Basecamp which helps enormously.
User Behavior: I use Yammer to observe user behaviour and see how they interact. It really does open people up and allows you to look inside what and how they are doing stuff.
Instant feedback: The concise nature of the messages on Yammer encourage staff to contribute their thoughts. Yamming is far more efficient than email and supports collaboration owing to greater visibility of the messages. For this reason, I prefer to use Yammer to obtain quick feedback on problems or ideas. The new polling feature works well in this respect as it focusses people on answering questions.