The Jive social business platform offers project managers tools for connecting with their teams. Here's an overview of the social platform's features. (This article is based on out of the box features.)
Set up a group for your department or team
A group is a collaborative environment you can set up for your project or project team. Figure A shows the Create Group dialog box. (I set up a group just for this article as a test.)
Create Group dialog box (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Click Apply And Browse Templates to take advantage of Jive's group templates. I chose the Group Collaboration template for this article (Figure B).
Jive's Group Collaboration template (See an enlarged view of the image.)
If I were using Jive in an enterprise, I would set up groups for departments and/or project teams depending on the organization's size and mission.
Create a project within a Jive group
Within a Jive group, go to Actions and click Project to create a project within that group. A project manager and their team can set up a project around specific projects in their area of responsibility. Figure C shows the Create Project dialog box.
Create Project dialog box (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Teams can use a project for the following tasks:
- Status updates via an activity stream
- Discussion boards
- Upload files and documents
- Create and publish blog posts
- Conduct polls
- Capture and track tasks
- Upload video
Backing up these features is a well-executed user interface. Users intimidated by SharePoint team sites should have an easier time with a Jive project site. From the project's main page, participants can view:
- Top participants
- Key content and places
- Featured content
- Recent decisions
- Finalized content
Create an idea
Whether your team develops content or software, managing ideas can help you be more responsive to customers and upper management. While the Create Idea feature is pretty barebones, it's comparable to other idea management tools like Insightster.
The idea feature has word processing and formatting features that will be familiar to users. It also pulls up similar ideas when you are creating your new idea so you can link to them. Figure D shows the Create Idea screen.
Create Idea (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Once you create an idea, the team can vote on it and conduct a threaded discussion (Figure E).
Vote on and discuss the idea. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
Create a task
Jive lets you capture and assign tasks from within a project or a group. While Jive may not replace a full-fledged project management tool for detailed task management and tracking across a team, it does include enough to get the job done. Click Create | Task to open the Create A Task dialog box (Figure F).
Create A Task dialog box. (See an enlarged view of the image.)
The Create A Task dialog box includes a mandatory field for the Description, a drop-down list for specifying the project for the task, an Assigned To selector, and a Due Date. Considering what today's social task management platforms like Do, Asana, and Producteev are doing with task management, Jive is pretty basic.
Collaborate on documents
Document collaboration is where enterprise social networks become potentially redundant with collaboration platforms such as Huddle, SharePoint, Teambox, and others. If your organization is already standardized on a collaboration platform, it can be counterproductive to use two platforms for document collaboration.
However, Jive offers a different take on document collaboration than some enterprise social and collaboration platforms. When you click Document under the Create menu, the Create New Document screen appears (Figure G).
Create New Document (See an enlarged view of the image.)
This feature is more document authoring than document library (it's like what you would find in Huddle or SharePoint), and it may not be such a bad thing. There is also an option to upload documents directly into Jive; however, you can't modify the documents you upload from within Jive.
Jive provides a simple and easy to use editor with all the right formatting tools that enables you to share documents with other users within Jive or export to PDF right out of the box. It appears you do need to use the Jive for Microsoft Office Connector to export the document to Microsoft Word.
Jive helps build the case for project managers and their teams to leave behind email and spreadsheet management and move their usual communications to an enterprise social platform.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.