Geography is History …Part I

Iridium, the satellite telephone service promoted by Motorola, was planned in the mid 1980’s to link up the earth with 66 low-orbit satellites. ‘Geography is history’ was the line with which the company launched its services.  By the August 1999 Iridium was bankrupt and the idea had crashed.

             But 20 years later, this need has come back and it’s a critical aspect of business and is necessary for business survival and growth. In the COVID-19 age and the age of possible disruptions to come, businesses will need to have a big part of its planning, execution and sustenance done all remotely making geography irrelevant, using the best collaborative solutions & AI techniques to bring global teams to solve customer issues and enhance their businesses.

There are 4 aspects of this concept which I will be covering in 4 blogs over the next few weeks.

  • Part I: Collaboration and Planning.
  • Part II: Collaborative Project Management and Execution.
  • Part III: Execution across cultures and languages.
  • Part IV: Sustenance.  

The above is based on an actual cases, which are currently underway as a part of my day to day experience.

PART I: Collaboration & Planning

             Between March 2020 – May 2020, COVID-19 had hit hard and the worst part was companies had a dire need for its employees and leaders to re-think a way to survive and find a way to bring out new ideas and new ways to adapt to the situation and all its global leaders and key team members were dispersed.              A lot of tools had already been used to communicate but in order to really make a difference, the requirements were for people to not just communicate but collaborate. The dimensions which a typical company was looking for in terms of a possible “come back strategy” are outlined below.

A platform which enabled

  • Global Communication and keeping track of communications.
  • Establishing defined communication channels with groups of people.
  • Addition of more collaborative tools for people / teams to work together

was desperately needed. 

Microsoft Teams is one such platform. This articles outlines how this tool proved super effective in a very tough situation to help me and my company roll out new initiatives due to its very effective features.

The platform and its key features which we focused on to connect to the above model were as follows.

  • External Collaboration: Customer focused.
  • Internal Collaboration: Company focused.

The platform improved the focus and productivity on some of our key innovative projects especially customer facing using communication via setting up Groups called Teams.

  • Each Team can be public or private as per the need of the business.

For Maximum effectiveness the following features and techniques proved to be extremely valuable.

  • Scheduled and Planned Microsoft Teams meetings : Planned meetings with relevant stakeholders in specific business areas with a very specific agenda and shared notes post the meeting defining conclusions and next steps.
  • Recording of key ideas by recording sessions on Microsoft Stream and sharing these recorded videos to team members as needed.
  • Prioritizing and selection of ideas using voting mechanisms (the hand raise can be used very effectively ).
  • The same feature above, helps controlling sessions and communication of ideas with minimal interruptions and ensure articulated thought processes in a very effective Q & A manner.
  • Group / Team Channels by topic: The facility enables teams to continue collaboration in their respective areas and is enhanced by the following
    • Channels : Channels by topic which can be public or private to enable teams to add content, ideas and deliverable s by their respective areas.
    • Files: Team members can upload documents and collaboratively work in parallel on the shared documents. Each file gets uploaded on a microsoft sharepoint site dedicated to the team and the channel.
    • To-dos: Team leads can plan daily and weekly tasks for the team members to finish.

The above example shows Private channels (with a lock sign), and  

  • Sections above for each team to post/upload files to be shared.
  • Files where each team can upload their documents.
  • Access to other tools aside from Microsoft tools, ensures any company can use their own preferred tools as needed such as
    1. WRIKE for Project Management.
    2. Clockify for Time entry
    3. and a slew of other tools on the Teams platform.

All of these features and the usage of Microsoft Teams as a core collaboration platform helped us bring together an amazing thought process with our internal company stakeholders and  our customer to roll out a great initiative.

We were able to ideate, analyze collaboratively, plan  and prioritize  various aspects of a completely  new business initiative and define a plan for POC.

For  more information on Microsoft Teams please click on the link below.

Please note: Microsoft teams has a lot more amazing features and only some of those are mentioned in the article above.

This is it for this section…subscribe to my blog, to get into Collaborative execution the next time.

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