Kona can provide a lot of value for your community group. It is useful as you start out with Kona to define what value you are trying to get from the tool and focus on those areas that will influence that value. Here are some examples of value areas for Kona:
- Enhanced team collaboration and communication
- Document Collaboration
- Feel more connected to what is happening in the group
- Seeing all conversations, not just things that you would typically just be CC’d on in email
- Eliminating the need for some meetings and make meetings you do have more productive and efficient
- Encouraging group connectedness between meetings
- Increase transparency
- Global and remote teams - facilitate dialog and connection between geographically dispersed team members
- Easy to bring new team members into the conversation and get them up to speed quickly
- Creates a knowledgebase with little additional effort
- Organizing Conversations
Creating a Community Space
Creating a Kona space for your community is easy – follow the steps below to get started:
- Create your space in Kona:
- Name your space (a descriptive name is better than a generic one)
- Pick an icon that represents the group/purpose (there are lots of images available to choose from in Kona, or upload your own image)
- Invite team members – or you might choose to delay inviting them until after you complete a little planning (described in the following steps)
- Define your space guidelines – how do you want to use Kona for this group? Review some of the best practices below to get ideas.
- Setup your space. Some of this setup can be done before you invite people into your space, and some will be ongoing after you have invited people.
- Setup the calendar with major events and milestones
- Create tasks to reflect the things the group is working on
- Create conversations for topic areas your group will be discussing
- Create people groups to allow the team to more easily include groups of people that often work together in tasks and conversations (this is more important for larger teams)
- Invite your team members to the space (if you didn’t do this in step 1)
- Have a Kona kick-off meeting. This can be a brief meeting where your group gets together and you introduce them to the space and discuss the guidelines for how you intend to use it for your group. Or if your group already meets on a regular basis, just add this to the agenda for the next meeting.
- Start collaborating!
Before you launch Kona for your community group, talk to your team about how you are going to use Kona. Create a "Kona Guidelines" document to get alignment with the team on how the team will use Kona. Some examples of items to include are frequency of regular meetings, where files will be stored, and how your team will use task folders.
Add your picture in Kona and encourage your teammates to do the same! Pictures make it easier to see who’s involved in the Kona conversation. Pictures also bring a personal element to the space and enhance the connection among team members. Nobody wants to be the “grey outline” person.
Follow the tips below to right-size your Kona notifications and avoid getting overwhelmed:
- Mark Unread - Do you find yourself reading some comments within a conversation but don't have time to respond right then? So you’d like a reminder to "come back later"? Many email users utilize "mark unread" for this purpose. Just click on the grey number bubble next to conversation name to have it come back up as an unread message indicator.
- Mute - Do you have conversations that you don't want to be notified on, but still want the ability to look at from time to time? Muting a conversation in Kona enables you to turn off all notifications for the conversation (sound and browser notification, new item notification, email, mobile notification, and the pop-up notification with text) but still click on the conversation, located under "Muted", and view or reply to the comments if desired.
- Favorites - Do you have certain conversations that you want to access quickly without having to wade through your other ongoing conversations? Use Favorites via the Star icon on either tasks or conversations and leverage the Favorites filter to quickly get to all your current favorites.
- Email Notifications - Are there Kona conversations that you want to be more / less quickly notified about activity via email? In addition to setting up a default email notification frequency for your entire Kona account (in your user profile), you can also change notification frequency on any specific conversation.
- @Mention - Use the @ icon and select a name to direct a comment to a specific person and get their attention. This puts a special banner on the individual’s notification.
- Task Settings - Be deliberate about choosing “Assign to” vs. “Followers” and remove yourself from following tasks you are no longer involved with to minimize unnecessary notifications.
- Hiding or Leaving a Space – Are you a member of Kona spaces that you are no longer involved with? If so, you may want to consider hiding or leaving these spaces. Leaving the space is a more permanent solution if you are really not involved anymore. Hiding a space can be done temporarily, or more permanently – but keep in mind if you hide a space you will no longer receive any notifications for activity in that space. This can be useful for spaces that you want to drop into once in a while and scan the latest conversations, but you’re not actively involved on a regular basis.
- Stay up to date - Try to stay up to date on unread items. If you have too many unread items, it becomes overwhelming. Decide on a personal method for keeping up with Kona notifications – which may differ depending on how much of your work is being managed in Kona. Those who work mostly in Kona will keep it open during the day and may check notifications in real-time. Others may login to Kona every few hours to check for updates, or once per day. If you adjust your notification settings to your personal needs and keep up with notifications on a regular basis, you’ll stay in the loop on important information for your groups and projects without feeling inundated with notifications. Don’t forget you can also use Kona mobile (iPhone or Android) to stay connected when you’re not at your computer.
Teams using Kona continue to have team meetings and in-person conversations, but when you’re discussing topics that are important to capture/share – post those conversations in Kona. Conversations can be captured in several places in Kona – pick the one that makes most sense for your scenario:
- Tasks - When the conversation is about a task you or another team member is working on, start a conversation by locating an existing task (or creating a new one) that reflects the topic of conversation, then start the conversation around that task. This will lead to better organization of conversations within the space, making things easier to find later on.
- Conversations – If your discussion is not about a task, use the conversation to capture the topic. You can use conversation lists to organize conversations.
Whether you use tasks or conversations or both, make sure to include the appropriate individual team members or people groups on the thread.
Use the @mention feature in your comments to get someone's attention on a comment. Just type @ and pick the person’s name from the list that pops-up and Kona will attach a special banner to the notification displayed to the mentioned user to indicate that this conversation requires their attention.
- Modify the “assigned to” and “followers” to indicate the person(s) responsible for working on the task, vs. those who are interested in following the progress. All assigned to and followers on a task are notified when there are new comments. Those assigned to the task will see it appear on their “to-do” list in the “My Kona” view (those following will not).
- Organize your tasks using Task Folders – makes them easier to find later.
- De-clutter the space by closing tasks as you complete them.
- Use the “My Tasks” view to quickly see what’s assigned to you.
Task vs. Conversation
- Create Kona Tasks for action items, or tasks you are trying to accomplish in your group
- If the discussion is around something that will come to closure or has a completion date or wanting a decision made, creating it as a task can be useful rather than a conversation.
- Tasks and Conversations can be organized into folders.
- Tasks can be Completed which can help "declutter" your Space (conversations cannot be closed – although you could create a “closed” conversation list and move closed conversations there to declutter).
- You can assign people to a task when they are responsible for working on it – this will appear in their personal task list.
- You can identify followers of a task – these people aren’t assigned, but are interested in following the conversation and will be notified when there are new comments.
- Conversations are private to only the people on the conversation – which defaults to everyone, but can be changed to individuals that you select.
- Tasks can be seen by everyone unless they are specifically marked private, but only those added as assigned or following a task will be notified about new comments on the task.
- You can't "close" a conversation today in Kona, so one way to organize your Conversations is to update the Conversation name with "CLOSED" as a prefix to indicate that the conversation is done. Another way is to create a “closed” conversation folder and move closed conversations there to declutter your list.
- Don't overuse the general space chat room – this should only be used for general conversation that is relevant to everyone in the space. Create a separate conversation for specific topics.
- If you need to capture decisions made as part of a conversation, one suggestion is to preface the title with "DECISION" to help categorize the conversation as a decision. You could also create a conversation folder titled “Decisions” and move relevant conversations there.
There are several options for storing documents with Kona. You should decide on a standard for your team based on your objectives and preference. Feel free to use different methods for different types of documents as appropriate.
- Directly in Kona: Documents can be posted directly in Kona. This works best for documents that rarely change and do not require version management. In order to make a change to a document posted directly in Kona, you have to download a local copy and then upload a new version.
- Sharepoint: Many teams use SharePoint as a document repository for documents that change frequently or require version control. If you store documents in Sharepoint, you can include the URL link in Kona so that documents can be easily accessed from your Kona space.
- Google Docs, Box, or Dropbox: Documents can be posted in Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox. Google docs are stored in the creator’s Google account, not a corporate archive that can still be referenced if the individual leaves the organization. Because of this, several departments and teams have given guidance that any document that will live on in terms of reference should be stored in SharePoint or Kona itself, not Google Docs.
- The Kona calendar can be used to identify major events and milestones for your group.
- The notes and conversation of an event can store the agenda and meeting minutes.
- Some teams use the Kona calendar for detailed calendaring including group meetings.
Role of Space Owner
- Get alignment with you team on how you are going to use Kona for the project. This is an evolving process, so as the features of Kona are enhanced and the teams usage of Kona changes, revisit this with the team on a regular basis.
- Encourage Kona use. For Kona to be most effective, everyone needs to be "IN". New users may forget to post in Kona and send an email to the group instead – remind your team to post information in Kona, and lead the way by posting relevant information and comments yourself.