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Using Communities

90 Posts authored by: Anirban Dutta
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You could always embed images in your content - have you tried an animated .gif?


- That's the speed with which the we are growing

riding in the back seat and the front windows are open.gif

Have a Happy Monday!

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I recently came across this rousing article about meetings actually killing productivity on LinkedIn and I could see why the subject rings true for many. I dug deeper and I think, the un-productive meeting is the outcome of a more intrinsic unproductive process - the lack of Multitenancy in the project management architecture. Big words - huh? Let's see what that means.



Traditional project execution cycle

Below are phases as a typical scenario working in spread out teams across geos. What is missing from this completely normal project cycle?  Let's look closer:

  • working-off-emails.pngGatekeepers: For e.g., the Document author and editor are different people, creating role based bottlenecks. Phases have an order and cannot be more agile/scaled up.
  • Disconnected: Starting off with emails, you almost always run aground with it being a non-transparent technology. A name on an email thread can never introduce people - A human disconnect.
  • Info consistency: Even if you've compiled the latest and the greatest data from 32 versions from 6 users's and 50 emails, what would you name it? ver 32.a.b.1.2 ?


The Outcome

How can you expect a bi-weekly meeting/con call with people playing different roles, with different personalities and expectations, not mutually familiar, meet for 30mins or 1hr and have a success out of it?

Add to the mix a situation to work among cross-teams in your org and, maybe with vendors outside your company!

Do you see why participants would either have nothing to speak (shut themselves off) or you'll have chaos (when it is the only chance they've got to sync)? - the result, an unsuccessful/non-productive meeting. You're not alone - The above cycle typifies the challenges created by the traditional processes.


Multi-player Project execution mode


Online Collab has to happen asynchronously round the clock in and out of your meetings.

1. Get your online team space

A Social group (Private or Secret) has been the success formula for many Big initiatives, like the The specified item was not found. initiative which has successfully socialized how customers submit ideas about their favorite BMC products.


This one step alone takes care of all the limitations we cited in the traditional system (above).

  • Not only does that give you one place for Documentation + Build + Reporting + Team building. Everyone has a profile and identity.
  • Online collab all the way - One Document, multiple players! No more role based rigidity, one living document with backed up versions removing your data-mining and Version control nightmares.
  • No need to email: No more confusions as the communication piece is integrated with content management.

Further, features like the Activity stream brings brings life to your project making it a single scalable,agile process.


2. Blog post - Please refrain from emails

We've just removed any need for emailing. Progress and other announcements like a meeting invite, key achievements, should be a Blog post.

Let me share another catalyst: Blogging also gives you a chance of introducing your team, roles And recognizing people. Don't miss this chance. If you are new to blogging, check out these great tips from Eric Tung.


3. Face to Face

Now that you've taken care of having people introduced and feel included, this is another setting you might consider. Whenever it is possible, if you can't be in the same meeting room. Video team meets are key to working scrum-style. Google Hangouts accommodate up to 10 participants who can face to face from across the world and have fun. It is free!

Other 1-1s should definitely be video whenever possible. There's just a natural magic when we face to face.


4. Have standups

We've seen enough on why meetings could be stale. Now it's time to rock-em. By following the social 'multiplayer' process you'll be able to define your Agenda better.

You can separate the brainstorming and collab (that has happened asynchronously online after you last meeting) parts from the presentation part. The meeting can now be like a Actions & status updates scrum standup meeting. Everyone walks in braised of the latest developments, know each other as a person, speaks about their items and you stay true to the original meeting plan.



You make the choice

I call this extending Multitenancy to your Project lifecycle where you create champions out of participants and bring about this F1 like teamwork and agility in the process. There is Huge cultural shift happening, check System of Record to a System of engagement (Forbes). I'll be happy to show you a lot of cool, Social successes on BMC Communities right from this methodology.


So next time you want to kick start your project, you have the finger on the start button - Which cycle do you want go for?

Comment below to let us know your thoughts and what would you choose?

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nasa ground control monitor.jpgWhen is the last time you checked your email for what happens on your Facebook news feed? Sounds crazy, right?

On the Social web we have our eyes and ears on the platform itself, right? If we don't need an email headsup for what happens on Facebook, like some kind of ground control picking up what is happening miles away.


We want to see the action and participate real time!

Appollo13 Mission Control


Communities Mission control Recent-activity-widget.png

Whatever happens on the Community, stays on the Recent Activity stream. So right from the Recent Activity stream


  1. Start interacting: Like, Reply to the threads right without having to go on the actual discussion. There need not be separate Watch and Act phases.
  2. Adjust your View: Choose to Show more/less.


Interact on the go


So enjoy the 24x7 coverage on your favorite Community - Keep the momentum by having far less taps/clicks, staying on one system and interacting from anywhere.

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1. Search anything

Finding information on Communities is just 1-Search-away. So that is really the first step to get to the right Community, people, content.


2. Find an expert

....And there might not be the exact answer to what you want, in that case you need to ask. One of the keys to success with your quest in both accuracy and how fast you get there is by choosing your audience well.


There are 2 routes you could take:

1. Get to the right Community and then ask: Go to the right product Community and then Start a Discussion. It is easy to see the exact Product to start from the top navigation menu.




2. Draft your Question first and then get to the right Community/ group room to ask: Start from the Create button > Discussion (or Document) right underneath the top nav and then choose the right Place (Community/Social group) to submit.

    BMC usergroup photo on flickr by HDIPhilly


Let's say for eg, I want to interact on BMC Remedy, I type out my question and I just type 'Remedy' and get suggested:

  • the Remedy ITSM community which is the place I should ask if I have a technical query, or
  • choose the local user group (I'm already a member of) if I want to find out what is happening in my region.
That way you'll be notifying the Remedy leaderboard are the most important people you want to engage on your Content And trust me, are constantly listening in.

3. Oops, my last discussion is in a wrong place

No problem. Move your content (Actions widget on the right > Move) it to the the right place. Use the same recommender service as Step2 and choose the right forum (does not matter if you don't know exactly what it is called).


Again - you'll increase your chances of getting your answers faster, better.

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Do you worry about not being able to keep on track with everything that is happening on BMC Communities? Do you feel that there is a lot of  noise that you could some how filter out to just get to the meat of your business?


Content Content Content

If your job needs you to be on top of technical discussions or what is going on at an event near you and you typically start by querying your emails trying to sort and filter your notifications first, and then jump to the content on the web, whatever your need be - This is the solution.


My BMC Community > Inbox


5 reasons why you'll love it

  1. Outlook lovers: The history of what matters to you on Communities. Enjoy Outlook like experience being able to view Unread only, Mark an item when Read.
  2. Social capabilities: Filter items where you were directly at_mentioned, your Messages and stuff that were Shared to you or Filter items from a particular user.
  3. Enjoy the full preview and interact from the same page and on the same platform.
  4. Easy maintenance: Mouse over a person to include them in your Inbox or in another stream. If you've yet set up streams, you have the Inbox to start and you can keep it updated daily.
  5. Stay connected: Whether you are on your computer or online from mobile, stay connected on stuff that matters, content you've contributed recently or Likes on your activity from anywhere.


One stop shop

Increase your productivity by staying on top of Communities, with far less clicks/taps and without having to bury yourself in emails or jump  between other systems to monitor.


So next time you want to Follow a Community, a person, be active on a Beta program or get notified about changes on a document, follow it in your Inbox.


When you have Inbox set up we'll be bringing you more cool tips on Streams closer to usecases in your day right here in Using Communities. Let us know what some of them are as a Comment on this post and we'll see how to get them covered

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BMC Communities is explored everyday by a myriad of different people.



From a fresh graduate looking for a job to an executive buyer, from a Digital native to someone who's never left their emails, from an experienced Communities manager to someone who has just signed up; the diversity in the background of people adds to the diversity in people's experiences interacting with the platform.


We have introduced the Get Started widget to help you along your quest of familiarizing yourself with the ABC of the new interface, wherever you are in the spectrum. Infact if I've ordered Setting up your streams as Step1, this could actually be Step0

Tooga/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Login, and from the dark blue bar under the top navigation go to My BMC Community > Get Started


See my first take on this new guide.


And just like me chug along to reach getting-started.png and you'll be amazed to see how much more comfortable you'll feel with the new Communities.

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Ok, agreed, we have a a lot happening on BMC Communities and it could feel like a tizzy place to some - well it's calm compared to Twitter


Like a summary?

But even Twitter sends you a Digest. If you need a recap on BMC Communities, like the key take-aways from People, content and other activities you'd really want to be updated about, but not necessarily real time, at your leisure.


Or if you check Communities just a couple of times a day, the Digest email could help you not miss out on Activities from others and stats on activity and content that you created.


For each day, week...?

You are already set up to receive digests, set your frequency or even Unscribe from your Email Notifications page. Follow call out beside your username > Preferences


And save your new preferences. Then, watch out for the 'BMC Communities updates' emails in your inbox.


Real-time updates on email?

Sure. Should you want an email notification every time a person interacts, or an activity update on a Community/ group you cannot miss, you can set up granular email notifications - see it demoed.

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The new BMC Communities launched on April 20 is significantly different in user experience that what we were last month, as many of you have felt. So, let us understand this change.

Step 1: Set up your Streams

The way we consumed content has become from receiving emails to Streams, Social style on the platform itself. This is a new way of grouping content streams and updates under watches you create - the Google Plus experience if you will.


Starting from the My BMC Community under the top navigation, in this video Matt and I demo this Step 1. Don't forget to be logged in in order to create Streams.



Also in the video Matt shows us how you can be fully mobile with this capability, not having to use emails at all!


Cool, but I still want emails?

We have not forgotten emails (1:49m in the video) we can set up notifications over emails on each Stream.

In fact in my next tip, let us talk about a great Use Case for Updates over emails. Any guesses?

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The Remember me feature is a neat feature to save you from logging in everytime.cookies-enabled.png

But in case you could'nt get your browser to 'Remember you', this could be one of the reasons: Your browser's cookie settings.


Go to Tools > Options > Privacy > and have "Remove Cookies on close" disabled or Cookies enabled - whatever the option is.


The login credentials for your particular browser are saved in your cookies and they should be enabled.


Tim Davis found and shared, this tech solution with us when he encountered this problem in IE and Firefox.

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Hello Communities users!


Recently many of you would have spotted an influx of spam content in Discussion threads and blog posts all around communities. We're sorry for this experience and wanted to assure you that the spill is being cleaned up round the hour.

telescope-array.png1. Seek

Thanks to you for being our round the clock surveillance partners. You have helped by providing the admin team raw intel from the field by Reporting as Abuse.

2. ... and Destroy

The admin team does not believe in taking in POWs so have been up to the task of taking them down in the same rhythm as they are created

3. Fencing up

We are also working on tech solutions to fight spam.


<< 'Radio eyes' from

Let us continue to be on the vigil and join hands to keep weeding BMC Communities.

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  • Pooja - Communities user interactions and onboarding
  • Amit - Platform Tech Partner and Engineer
  • Anirban - Admin and Community Manager for BMC Social
  • Matt - BMC Communities Brand Ambassador


And we talk about delivering things that would better your experience.





The timestamps are actually clickable on the video description on Youtube and this is how we do it.

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This one is from the YouTube tips

Help users scan through your Video

Like anchor tags and Sub headers for big chunks of content, it is a good idea to segment a big video, like.

  • A product demo/tutorial
  • Live event recording with multiple speakers
  • Google hangout on air with multiple attendees


In the Description section of your YouTube video give that Skip-to kind of control to the user so that they can directly jump to/revisit the section they are interested in.  .


And Google makes it unbelievably simple to do this:

  1. Note the time of the specific section you want to pick by mouse-ing over the timeline bar.
  2. Click in the Edit info to open up the Description section of your video.
  3. Write the time in the description in mm:ss format.
  4. Save changes and YouTube creates a link for you directly to that specific section of the video.


See it working in this video.

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Today's tip comes from Steve Kallestad, a Remedy guru and a BMC Communities user.

He actually started with a challenge, which I'm sure many of you can relate to:

How to keep up with all the content on BMC Communities?

But here we'll see a great example of how the pain was turned around as an opportunity to devise a solution.4556605516_db311a3724_m.jpg

The quest

1. Instead of starting with an email , Steve went Social, and admitted his challenge about information uptake by opening a discussion, in BMC Social.


2. Within 48hrs he had other expert Communities users jump on his Discussion and share handy tips on how they manage their personal usage and content consumption.

3. He combines the inputs and uses his own methods to achieve a personal Automated content management solution.

just Lemon ice tea by elviskennedy on Flickr

Giving back to the Community

To complete the cycle, Steve, acknowledged the contributions (Marks answers as helpful) and created a video explaining details of the tools and cool technologies like (RSS feeds, Yahoo Pipes, Live bookmarks etc) - Now that's true Social spirit!


Here's the demo.


Steve, thanks for sharing this useful tip and also for showing us, exactly how to get things moving efficiently in an #e20 world.

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We have come a long way from the earliest days of smoke signals and beating drums to mordern day electronics and the web, the scope for communication has increased exponentially.

Would you rather email, Have an instant message chat or talk to a real person?


Here are some of the options for having a real time communication.


OptionWhen to use?

1.Text chat: Instant Messaging


If you are connected to the user online

  • Need for the minute info exchange
  • Add more people to quickly take a decision
  • File exchange & screenshare



  • The chat client (Yahoo Messenger, Gtalk, MS Communicator, Lync?)
  • The other person's id. Have you shared your chat Id on your profile, so others can Search you?

2. Voice: VoIP, Telephone


  • Longer dialogue/trouble shooting - Speaking is way effective.
  • Excellent for Customer support

Yes VoIP tech might have reduced costs, but:

  • Have to dial in lengthy numbers + Network + Country code + Conference call pin
  • Call into a Webex & a audio call separately. Not engaging enough?


<< One of these devices

Could things be more effective?

3. Video

Skype_logo.svg.pngor MS Lync

See each other!

Connect with people within your organization through Lync or Communicator and other people outside using Skype.

  • Great tool to text chat + Video + file share
  • Maintain chat notes history upto 6months!
  • Communicator/Lync gives you this ability of sharing screens And giving control of your desktop to someone else on the chat. Great way for tech troubleshooting, installing/removing softwares, patches, etc.


  • Currently screen sharing and video only limited to 2 callers. The moment it is more, the call becomes audio only for the free version of Skype.



Skype software + webcam + microphone

Be clean shaven, presentable?

4. Broadcast yourself to the world


  • The true virtual meeting room (upto 10 callers)
  • Excellent for regular scrum meetings (if you are a spread out team like mine)

The #hangoutsonair revolution

  • You can broadcast your chat live on Google Plus like a Live Radio show.
  • Get a YouTubevideo of your chat after the session is over - Publish it as a blog post
  • Public demos - See Jason Frye's success with his My IT demos
  • Build a Community around a product or an idea, or plain fun.

Other cool features

  • Include another video in the middle of the hangout video - Check how my bit was included later (post production) into the Socmed team greeting hangout. I could not attend when it happened.
  • Adjust your call settings according to your available bandwidth so that you do not disconnect.



A Google account + webcam + microphone. Hangouts are now possible even from Gmail.


*Hey, looks like President Obama hungout Live from the White House with the nation, this Feb14!

Technology has made it possible for us to be even more connected than ever before. What is your preferred way of being connected?

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If you are working on a Word document/ xls, making changes every day, making versions, attaching and emailing your team, and/or building up on versions of the doc on your local machine/ shared drive and waiting to communicate only when it is very final - sounds right, except

you may be loosing out on the much desired momentum you want around your project!

Working today

Collaborative authoring happens on our Communities every day and continues to grow in enthusiasm. Wiki's Agile Methodology poster >>


It is OK to Publish a preliminary version of your document, enable co-authoring on the same document. Incorporate those suggestions, changes, work on 1 single document within a closed group/semi public before you open up the content to full Public when you're ready.Voila!


You've just spun off the P-D-C-A cycle in true SCRUM style.

  • Would'nt it save you time? Efforts?
  • Would'nt it enthuse feedback through transparency?
  • Would'nt it save you the perils of Version control?

What if there were inaccuracies?

The social world we are talking about is constantly upgrading itself and that too at a breathtaking pace. And you can always correct/add on to your content online - It's not a pdf An alive Community is constantly shedding old skin and growing new and changing, no error stays for too long.


We are living in a world of Agile, SCRUM, Sprint where conventional project management phases are being folded into one cycle focused on faster delivery.


If you still aren't ready for such openness check out how Matt Stewart found instant success by authoring his debut novel, The French Revolution, SCRUM style on Twitter - Oh, and by the way, this was 2009!

On why he did it?

1. I wanted to get my novel out fast and in a way that'll resonate with the hyperconnected 2009 way of life.

In 2013

No way am I claiming that Open Collaboration should be the Only way, infact checks and balances in the content Dev cycle could be neccessary for many reasons, but don't blame me if the circles on the poster above just don't seem to stop spinnin in your head

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