Is organisational change needed to make Microsoft Teams a success?

It’s well accepted that any significant technology implementation must be accompanied by an organisational change program if it’s to succeed.

The implementation of Microsoft Teams certainly qualifies as a significant technology implementation but how disruptive is it likely to be to your organisation? Will the promised productivity gains flow immediately, or will there be a period of pain and effort before you start to see benefits flow?

Microsoft Teams implementations are not a one size fits all. Depending on your business context and ambitions, your approach will follow the typical risk/reward relationship. The higher the risk, the greater the emphasis on Organisation Change management needs to be:

At SWOOP we’ve been thinking long and hard about the role of analytics in supporting organisational change effortsWhile change is instigated from the top, it’s at the individual level that change actually happens. We use the tagline: “Seeing how you work changes how you work”.

Below we have modelled how SWOOP measures can be used within the popular Organisational Change framework called ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement).

ADKAR, like SWOOP, acknowledges that change happens at the Individual and Organisational level. In order for a team or organisation to change, all the individuals within that team must change. The SWOOP dashboard provides views at the Individual, Team, Business Segment and Organisational levels.

If Microsoft Teams is being introduced as an efficiency tool for business as usual (BAU) teams, all that might be required is to create an awareness that Microsoft Teams is available for use and coaching and related resources are available for those teams that choose to make use of it. This is the lowest risk approach to implementing Teams. Efficiency gains are available for those motivated enough to take advantage.

The next level of Microsoft Teams adoption would see an organisation looking to change the way new value is achieved through their project organisation. By their very nature, development projects will vary in scope, duration and resource requirements. An agile approach to resource utilisation and project delivery can be substantially enhanced by an effective Microsoft Teams implementation, as a hub for project team activities.

Finally, for those organisations looking to transform their whole style of working to a fully agile model (see Steve Denning’s description here); Microsoft Teams can play a central role in facilitating this.

The following tables illustrates how SWOOP collaboration indicators can be used to monitor and assess organisational change at each level of change intensity and ADKAR phase:

 ADKAR Change Intensity  Measurement
Awareness Efficiency
A communications campaign would be directed to all BAU teams about the availability of Microsoft Teams and the support resources that are available.
Monitoring activity by BAU team structures will give a sense of the early uptake:
Additional to the above communication, more targeted communications should be made to the Project Development teams. Agile teams will span traditional BAU divisions.
As project organisations become more agile, we will begin to see more cross-divisional interactions:
Sponsors have crafted the organisational message on the above to support the Teams installation. Key messages and questions are posed on an Enterprise network (Yammer or Teams) and appropriately # tagged for tracking.
Identify your Teams Champions as your ‘agents for change’. The SWOOP Teams Champions widget provides this:

Desire to Make the Change Happen Efficiency
For this minimalist change, BAU teams should be supported in experimenting with Microsoft Teams. Those that see a benefit will continue with its use.
Those Teams best engaging with Microsoft Teams can be exposed to other less engaged teams for knowledge sharing purposes:

The project organisation needs to be exposed to the benefits of using an agile approach. A good starting point is to leverage the experiences of internal IT developer teams, who have most likely already been exposed to agile ways of working.
Look for your Teaming champions from the IT development organisation. They should appear in the SWOOP Teaming Champions list. Enroll them in coaching teams that have previously not been exposed to the Agile way of working.
How can we tell whether staff are engaged enough to try and change their behaviours to the desired ones? Perhaps activity rates alone can give some early indication, but ultimately we need to see an increased desire to collaborate with each other.
Simple interaction activity data can inform on existing levels of desire. SWOOP provides a  Interactive Users widget that shows activity over time:
Knowledge about How to Change Efficiency
Support and coaching resources should be made available to BAU teams looking to make use of Microsoft Teams.Ensure that an element of coaching goes beyond the functional ‘how to use’ training, to include an understanding of collaborative behaviours as teams form.This article on Team ‘Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing’ identifies how relationships are formed as teams mature and become productive.
SWOOP develops ‘Team Personas’ from how a team is operating online. Understanding what type of group your Team is operating as is a first step in understanding Team efficiency.
Agile project teams are characterised by the inclusiveness of all members and the expectation that certain members will play ‘bridging’ roles by being members of multiple teams.We believe that analytics, when delivered appropriately, should make the required change self-evident in many cases.
SWOOP provides a number of widgets that measure team level cohesiveness, curiosity, diversity. However, the Team Interaction map is the most visually compelling as it shows just how well a team is connected (or not) based on actual interaction patterns. The time window can be adjusted to suit.

Transformation requires personal behavioural change across the board. Knowing how to become a more constructive collaborator is a learned skill. As an individual becomes a more skilled collaborator, they will naturally build larger and more connected personal networks. They will also learn how to create value through collaborative action, more so than simply individual exertion.
As individuals start to use SWOOP to monitor their own behavioural personas over time, they will learn how to adapt their online collaboration behaviours. Personal network maps can show individuals the extent of their networking connections within the Microsoft Teams environment.

SWOOP will be soon be including the personal ‘Nudge’ widget in Teams that is currently available in SWOOP for Yammer. Nudges give customised guidance on improving collaboration.

Ability to Change Efficiency
At this minimal change level, Team leads and members can look at the collaboration dynamics of their own team to assess its efficiency. Are key team members not sufficiently engaged in team interactions? Does the team leader need to take a more directing role i.e. be a single leader team, or is efficiency best achieved through the team being totally self-directed?
The team network map and team personas (shown earlier) identify the operational characteristics of the team. The Team members should collectively review these widgets to assess what may be potentially impacting on their efficiencies.
An agile project organisation can become problematic as resources are flexibly shared. The overall governance of an agile project organisation is less clear than for a defined hierarchy. Individual team members need to be aware their roles may change more dynamically than in a BAU team. Team leaders and specialists may find they need to participate in multiple teams at times.
The SWOOP ‘Team of Teams’ widget is designed to be the ‘Organisation Chart’ for Agile teams. The Team of Teams chart is generated from team membership. Teams are connected through common members.

Under connected (potential silos) and over connected (potentially redundant) teams become evident here: Agile project organisations are also susceptible to overloading certain individuals by requiring their input in too many teams. The Teams Champions widget (shown earlier) exposes the most likely candidates for overload.

Knowing what is needed to become a better collaborator does not always mean that all individuals are equally adept at making the necessary changes. We all know of people who are ‘stuck in their ways’ despite having a good knowledge of what needs to change.
Someone who has the desire and knowledge to change their behaviours, but is still struggling to make the change, needs the support of others. This is where small groups or teams can help, through periodically conducting group introspection i.e. looking at how they can collectively improve their collaborative performance. SWOOP provides comprehensive support for teams and team behaviours. Look at the Team Champions list.

These are the collaboration ‘role’ models (despite potentially being overloaded!). Encourage team members to model their online behaviours on these leaders. If a team members’ ability to change improves, we should not only see the activities/user and ‘two-way relationships’ measures improve, but also the levels of tagging others into conversations (Mentions Index) and higher levels of curiosity (Curiosity Index). For those that have enabled it, SWOOP also provides a widget to track sentiment levels over time:

Reinforcement to Retain Change Efficiency, Agility and Transformation
Once positive change has been achieved, it is important it is not lost, resulting in people falling back into bad habits.
SWOOP is an online dashboard that has the ability to continuously send reinforcing signals. Whether you are a manager, team leader, specialist or individual contributor, there is a ‘view’ in SWOOP that will be monitoring performance in real time.

For Microsoft Teams Administrators, there is an ability to benchmark key team participants e.g. champions, team leaders, discipline specialists etc. to monitor whether an achieved change is being sustained or not.

The record for successful organisational change initiatives has not been good. Often the blame is placed at the feet of technology; and its prioritisation over the needs of people. Here we argue it’s not a matter of which one comes first, but how technology and people can work in tandem, to achieve the desired organisational change. We’ve shown here organisations can “bite off as much organisational change as they see appropriate” when implementing Microsoft Teams. Whatever level of change you aspire to, SWOOP provides data and analytics to support a successful journey.

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