Are ever changing infographics the answer to updating end users?

Who in the Microsoft Tech Community finds it difficult to keep up with change? Woah, OK, don’t all speak at once. That was deafening. There is a small but brave bunch who do their best to keep people informed of change. We do our best to communicate “what to use when” in a graphical way, in the hope that it reaches a wider audience. But we also struggle to update our materials, while keeping it simple for people to understand.

@Loryan Strant wrote this post last year asking “Which Office 365 infographic to use when?” He say’s that there is so much integration and overlap that it is too difficult to represent Office 365 in an infographic. Loryan then encourages organisations and groups of people to pick a path and try things in pilot programs. Start with a scenario rather than products and features. Map out your own journey.

I recorded this tongue in cheek song “The greatest Office 365 collaboration diagram in the world… Tribute” (a parody of Tribute by Tenacious D.) If you can see past the amateur recording quality, you’ll hear a message that speaks of frustration with communicating change. But the answer lies in the story told through the song. It is the stories and scenarios that people relate to.

The video is just about 1 year old. The diagram I use in the video is a few months older than that. If I was to try to update it, I’d probably go crazy trying to fit all the pieces together.

Speaking of pieces, this brilliant graphic by @Tracy van der Schyff.  We created it for the REgarding 365 t-shirt we wore at MSIgnite. It’s still my favourite tech tshirt. Not because I belong to the RE365 crew, but because it speaks of the challenge we all face. What’s next?

 Graphic by Tracy van der Schyff.  Graphic by Tracy van der Schyff.

This picture has much to say, on so many levels. (I didn’t even try to hold that pun back.) Apps, features and capabilities keep coming. We have more and more choices about what we can use to improve the way we work. As the pieces fall,  we try to fit them together and absorb them, internalising how to use them. But the speed in which they fall and the irregularity of shape challenges us to make things fit neatly. We get overwhelmed, but only because we try to use every piece that falls in our direction.

Lesson: Don’t view Office 365 like a game of Tetris. Try things out as individuals and as a team, at your own pace and to solve business needs. Don’t worry about trying to know it all. The different blocks will still be there. Someone else will be working with a different choice of blocks. They will fit them together and you can trade stories. Who are these people? Your technology champions.

The brave champions in our organisations love to try new technology and discover how improve the way they work. Get to know these people. Encourage them. Provide ways for them to tell their stories of discovery. Try using SharePoint news pages or a Yammer “Work Stories” group. Others will hear, be inspired with their own ideas. They will relate to the stories because they can see where their own scenarios align. This is what helps us make choices.

So if you’re trying to select the right infographic for your organisation, or you’re updating your own “what to use when” materials, try the “Just try it” approach. Then share your story so others can relate to it and try it too.

“Stories. The new old way to keep people informed.”

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