Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Working Smarter with Yammer

Don’t you despise debrief meetings or plus deltas on the heels of program completion? I do. However its not so much the debriefing or plus delta-ing that’s bad, it’s typically the inability of facilitators or the group to stay focused and provide valuable insights in a timely fashion that help with designing or executing future initiatives.

Of course observers during an event can be asked to capture on paper their observations of what is working, and not working and so too can participants. However, of the many limitations of paper one of the biggest is that it doesn’t allow for group reflection during or immediately after the fact - this is what debriefs are for...right?

The problem is “delay.” Often the debrief takes place after the event and if it’s like mine was recently, a 2.5 day learning event containing multiple sessions, there is much to discuss.

This time around we decided to cut out the middle man – delay. We used our internal Yammer network to have team members and facilitators capture their thoughts via our mobile Yammer app in the midst of the event. Typical “Yams” had observers documenting “what if’s”, “why’s”, “why-not’s”, critical insights from participants, and successes. In several cases the group was quick to reflect on those immediate posts and provided their two cents worth. Some contributions allowed the original author to rethink their post and make changes based on a brief collaborative exchange all before the session ended.

The team eventually did meet to discuss the outcomes and changes needed. The meeting lasted only 20 minutes! In addition to already having much agreement, we had a single written record to follow - all conveniently under a single hash tag - making the changes going forward all that much easier.
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