Once you have selected your platform features and confirmed the licencing of a Made Open platform, you will inevitably look to assemble a team to help you with both the set-up and long-term maintenance of your platform. How should you set about choosing your people and forming them into a well functioning administration team?
Choosing your team
Take time to choose the right people for their skills and abilities. Platforms can be set up and managed by one full-time person, but the decision-making work load and day-to-day responsibilities needed to make a platform a success inevitably ask for a small team to make the work manageable.
You'll need a mixture of team members, each with a different set of skills and abilities, rather than a series with identical skills. Ensure that together, they represent all the skills you need, from leadership, observation, visualisation and/or creativeness, and diligence.
Setting up a team to build and a team to administrate may require some temporary and some permanant team members. Your long-term administrators should not be excluded from the decision making process of setting up the platform, but there may be more of a need for different skillsets during the initial work-intensive phase. Consider people with strong skills in content, marketing and 'big picture' thinking.
Don't overlook the importance of choosing people who get along and work together as a team.
How to build a project team
Set the tone for the future
Make sure that you call a team meeting to set the tone at the very start of setting up a platform and that everyone in your team attends.
This is the meeting to make the leadership clear and to clearly lay out the team responsibilites. This is where the team hierarchies and reporting structures are re-stated. This is the time to remove any ambiguities or potential conflicts. Make sure everyone is clear about their role and responsibilities.
With a strong background working with many local authorities, we have years of experience with projects becoming affected by less-than-strong communication between different levels of command and inter-related departments. Complicated hierarchies are a fact of community development, which is why it is integral to outline the intended plan, team structure and platform tone at the start of the set-up phase.
It is almost impossible to exaggerate the importance of communication within any organisation, and in particular within a project team. Make it your duty to ensure that everyone within your team knows what is going on. Make sure that everyone knows of outside events that will affect the team. Make sure that everyone knows their own goals and objectives and those of the team as a whole. Make sure they know the objectives of those interfacing to them and of any potential conflicts. Make sure that a problem or a delay in one area is immediately communicated to those whom it may affect.
Encourage and foster co-operation, not competition. Make sure it is in no-one's interest to keep information to themselves. Communication will come naturally if it is in everyone's own interest - and this will be the case if you have earlier ensured that you all have common mutually interdependent goals.
These guidelines on their own are certainly not enough to guarantee a fully functional and successful team, but following them will go a long way towards creating one. On the other hand, if you don't follow them your chances of success will be minimal.