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Narrating Your Work (NYW) Methodology Toolkit

Eleni Boursinou, Dane Lukic, Anoush Margaryan Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

February 17, 2012

This toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License

This toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License

NARRATING YOUR WORK METHOD Narrating Your Work (NYW) is a method for improving knowledge sharing, cohesion and sense of connectedness in virtual teams. Team members, using a microblogging tool Yammer, narrate their work they post regular, daily or weekly, updates about their current work, their accomplishments, as well as problems and questions they are facing.

How to implement NYW in your team

General instructions:

Decide on the microblogging tool you will be using. This could be an enterprise tool such as Yammer or an open tool such as Twitter. Introduce the Narrating your work approach to your team in a brief, face-to-face or virtual, session. Explain the purpose and benefits of narrating work. Encourage team members to create an account in the microblogging tool of your choice and complete the details in their profile pages as fully as possible. Encourage them to outline their areas of expertise, and to include a recent photograph, and start building their network by following other people or groups. Appoint Champion(s) within your team who would be responsible for the overall moderation of NYW, encouraging engagement, flagging up useful posts and intervening where necessary. Decide on the frequency of updates and get everyone to commit to post regularly. NYW posting can be daily or weekly. Add NYW as an agenda item to your regular team meetings. Collect feedback from team members about usefulness and any problems they might encounter in NYW. Encourage and promote a safe environment where people are able to narrate their work and even mistakes without fear of being judged negatively. Recognize employee efforts in knowledge sharing and disseminate ideas worth spreading. Disseminate results and feedback from NYW throughout the rest of the company.

This toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License

Instructions for team members:

Write about things that went well, things that went less well and concerns or issues you are facing. Write your updates as single paragraphs, be as succinct as possible. Express yourself and post in the form you feel more comfortable with that could be other than text communication (i.e. photos, audio, video). Share your updates using #nyw tag. You can share them publicly in an open group or privately, in a closed group. Describe both work in progress as well as milestones you have achieved. Think ahead about what may interest the audience of your post and try to make your postings short, to the point and consider including humour. Use tagging, polls, like, praise, etc. and other relevant functionalities. Link to other people within the team by using @ method to turn their name into a link. If mentioning any document or webpage, make sure to add the link to the document. Show appreciation of and give feedback to your fellow team members to trigger interactions around your and others posts. Although NYA is focused on work challenges, non-work related posts allow colleagues to know more about each other and increase sense of connectedness. Feel free to post about non-work related issues, and use your judgment as to what is appropriate to post about. Be aware of cultural differences.

Instructions for the Champion(s)

In the first few weeks of NYW, seed informal questions to break ice and to encourage people to start posting. Encourage members to post when they are inactive. Use a set of tags to highlight posts that triggered a great deal of interaction or interesting ideas that team could follow up on. Summarise these on a regular basis and share the summaries within the team through a periodic NYW Newsletter.

This toolkit is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 UK: Scotland License

BENEFITS OF NARRATING YOUR WORK Research1 has shown that NYW approach can foster a range of benefits for virtual teams. Narrating you work can: Increase team cohesion and help maintain a sense of community, especially for team members who are based in different locations.

Without NYW, we could go on for 10 days without receiving any news [from others in the team]. I get to know who they are as a person and for example when I found out that X has started learning the guitar, it made me feel more connected. Foster greater team awareness and build understanding of what other people are working on. In terms of internal communications, we are really ahead. I know what my team member in Kuala Lumpur is working on and it is very important for decision making, no matter in which time zone they are located. Really helpful to stay aligned on what everyone is busy with. Improve visibility within the team for geographically isolated team members.

My office hours never coincide with my colleagues in <country>. With NYW it is my way of saying Hello, I am here. And I can assure you that I was waiting for the Likes, it is like a facial expression, like a smile when you do not work in the same office with someone. Facilitate locating expertise within the team for problem solving.

If I post a question, I have an answer in the next thirty minutes or so. I found out that one of the BAs was working on a similar project and I used his expertise on the matter to solve some of the issues I was facing, instead of trial and error. We ended up connecting on a personal basis and I found out more about his hobbies... As the conversation progressed, we came up with an idea of a project for one of our clients. Inspire self-reflection on learning and enhance team members self-esteem and confidence.

It reminded me of what I had achieved during the day. It is good for the soul to feel like that as you leave work. You receive likes and you pick up the value.

Boursinou, E., Lukic., D., & Margaryan, A. (2012). Narrating Your Work: Developing a replicable methodology for improving knowledge sharing in virtual teams. Project final report. Caledonian Academy, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. [Online] 4