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Reflecting on 2016, and the Year Ahead for Sococo

By Cliff Pollan, Sococo CEO

I wanted to thank all of our users for a wonderful 2016, and to share some of my thoughts on 2017.  Our mission at Sococo is to empower distributed agile teams to be high performing.

As you experience everyday, we do this by providing an online office space.  We recreate  the benefits of physical co-location in an online world.  And we do so with the needs of your Agile team in mind. 

Why?  People are everywhere and they work from anywhere.  Run the numbers.  In 2016,  83% of agile organizations are now reporting they are physically distributed. This is 300% (a tripling) since three years ago.*   

Here are the numbers at Sococo that track to this trend:

  • Square Footage - we are building beautiful real estate spaces for you on a global basis.  At the end of 2016, we had over 1,100,000 square feet of space being used.  That was up from just over 90,000 square feet in 2015.
  • Engagement - real time interactions: at the end of 2016, there were over 1,961,000 million real time interactions in the month of December, up from 319,000 a year earlier.

Clearly, working together online works well, and we are even more focused.  Our goals center on teams and organizations that have adapted Agile, and they are three-fold: 

  1. Mindset - accelerate an agile mindset by providing team members a shared environment to, well, be agile in. 
  2. Performance - enhance the performance of agile teams by making it possible to communicate now, real-time, on the fly and at the speed of business. 
  3. Scale -  fast track the adoption and scaling of Agile practices in large organizations. 

Our vision, based on your feedback, is to continue to build our online workplace and enrichen our metaphor of a physical office.  We want to make it practical for people in different locations to work together online.

2016 Accomplishments

I want to highlight work we did in 2016 which provides a solid foundation for our endeavors in 2017. The biggest accomplishment is our integration with messaging platforms. Just as in a physical office, different communication capabilities are available and we want you to have the same capacities in your online space.   

Messaging

The messaging component is critical as it facilitates the now crucial  capacity for asynchronous communication. It is now becoming the backbone for all organizations, such  as phone systems, email and groupware were years ago.  These integrations allow the benefits of being co-located to bridge with communications platforms. 

On the messaging platforms, we began by:

1 - Inventorying what our clients are using today - that list, to no surprise includes:

2 - Messaging Integrations:

  • Slack: our first messaging platform integration was completed with Slack.  Many of our clients have taken advantage of this integration and enjoy the extended messaging capabilities it delivers.  We have learned quite a bit from the Sococo community about how to make the best of this integration, and are getting ready to make enhancements to our overall messaging integration approach.
  • Microsoft Skype for Business: we  established a design council in 2016 with 8 of our corporate clients, along with representatives from Microsoft to help guide this integration effort.  We plan to show a working version in February.  This will inform our Teams integration as well. 

The above two efforts will help us to tune our integration with messaging platforms and then move on to incorporate the others on the list.

Project Rooms

Our customers have asked us to design a project room concept in Sococo, and we are hard at work on this right now. It will be a place with information hanging from the walls (flipcharts), projectors that automatically have the right information projected at all times, whiteboards, etc. Just like you might walk into a project room to get caught up or actually work, you want to do this in Sococo.

Our goal is to enable you to bring into the space the “furniture” or digital tools/assets/information of your choice. 

Scaled Agile

For large projects or “scaled agile” you asked us to design a layout that would make it easy to collocate those teams.  Our designers, collaborating with you, did some knock out work to create those spaces and many of you adopted them.  You also asked us how you might do your planning events, which normally were only done by having everyone travel to one location, in a distributed manner.  We have been working with clients on how to successfully implement these.  Please reach out to us if you would like to explore this idea.

Centers of Excellence

Agile is about continuous learning and continuous improvement.  Many of you want to leverage knowledge and expertise across the company.  Also, you have centers of excellence and are thinking about how to best leverage that approach across your distributed organizations.  We have been working with clients on that opportunity.  

I’ll stop here, as that is quite a bit to take in and the focus of our immediate efforts.   We are in a constant and continuous learning mode, always wanting to push the boundaries of online team performance.  I look forward to collaborating with you, our customers and online community.  Please share your thoughts in the comments, email me or even better, to drop into our office lobby (click here using Chrome) and say hello!. 

**”State of Agile Report”, VersionOne, 2016