I’ve recently started a project where the teammembers are spread across two different locations and within the locations over multiple floors and rooms. The activities we have to perform can be done mostly by individuals but other members depend on the output of others. So it is essential that the teammembers are aware of the activities of other teammembers and their status.

To discuss all important actions, risks and issues I scheduled a weekly projectmeeting where most teammembers attend in person and some by phone. Because we are spread across the two locations it always takes more time for some of us to attend physically. Another downside of us not sitting near eachother is that we don’t meet at the coffee machine to have informal chats about what we are doing and also formal meetings take a little more effort.

To improve the team collaboration I’ve setup a Yammer network. You can think of Yammer as facebook for businesses. I use a very limited set of functionality of Yammer, just the status updates which can be placed in the Yammer feed of ‘our network with Yammer’. I’ve asked all teammembers to regularly post a status update and check our feed daily. Of course I could have asked all members to send me a status update by email daily which I can then collect and spread within the projectteam. The latter would cost me time and I would delay the information flow. The benefit of using Yammer is that members can reply on the status updates of others.

If it turns out that my teammembers will not use Yammer actively I still have the alternative to organize one or two additional status meetings so people can meet and discuss their ‘things’. Instead of a couple of status messages which takes 15 seconds to write, they will be in a meetingroom for a hour.

I believe Yammer is a usefull addition to my projectmanagement tools to keep the team informed and in contact.