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Top tips for digital team development.

When building or developing a digital team there are certain things you should be keeping in mind. Avoid governance and other issues with our top 3 tips for resource planning.

‘We just don’t have enough resources.’

Over the combined years that Tim and I have worked in the digital space this is something we have heard, a lot. We’ve both suffered from it too.
Not having the right resources or skills in place will see you quickly disappointing those around you. Not getting it right may encourage others to ‘get on with it’, which can be the start of long term digital governance issues.

Building or developing a team should be considered a core component of your digital strategy. Your colleagues should be able to quickly understand the short and long term goals for your team plus see how your resources will grow, develop and change over the period to support that.
How do you make sure you have the right resources and the right skills for delivering against your digital strategy? Here are my top 3 areas to consider when you’re resource planning.

3 tips for resource planning

1. Have a digital purpose.
Many teams struggle to define their purpose; which makes hiring new people, taking on new initiatives, or simply saying ‘no’ to a project almost impossible. 
Digital teams within organisations are fairly unique in the skills they offer and in how they view the customer (or they should be!) – use this to your advantage.
Everyone is focused on meeting the core business goals so think carefully about what the digital team can uniquely contribute towards that. An example of this could be digital customer behaviours or insights. Your team could provide real-time insights into how your customers are behaving that no one else internally can see. The team immediately provides a unique value that your colleagues will want to tap into.
Dave Chaffey, from the Smart Insight team says; “Show how digital channels will help the customer. What value will you provide?” In this case, your “customer” is your colleague.

2. Choose wisely.
Once you’ve clearly defined and communicated your digital purpose you’ll need to think about what skills you need to support it.
Digital resources can be sourced from many different areas, the shape of your team will depend on the goals you want it to achieve. What is your focus, is it campaign execution, content development, or driving online sales? You won’t need a team full of technical developers if your purpose is to create content that is shared across social networks. Carefully plan the internal resources that are core to supporting your purpose, and use external resources to support secondary tasks or work that you can’t possibly scale up or haven’t the capability to deliver. Don’t ‘make-do’ with the resources you have if they contradict what you are trying to achieve, nobody wins that way.
Make it clear to senior stakeholders and other managers across the organisation how the roles and skills needed in your digital team support your purpose. It’s really important that this connection is made for future growth and the perceived success of your team.

3. Share knowledge, the right way.
Don’t use peoples’ fear of digital to your advantage. Making our world seem more complex and confusing than it already is won’t make you look really smart and clever, it will make it look like you don’t understand how to translate what you know. Take your organisation on the digital journey with you, encourage asking questions and brief them often and simply. If your organisation is driven by the importance of the brand or by numbers make sure you connect everything your team is doing in the digital space back to that. Be a trusted and approachable resource for the organisation, you’ll be invited into more conversations and planning sessions that way.

In our experience we find very few people who can clearly articulate their purpose and this is often blamed on not being given a clear directive from the wider business. In this situation be in charge of your own destiny, push for clarification and purpose and then set your own goals and success measures. You might be surprised with how quickly others follow.

The content and advice contained in this post may be out of date. Last updated on April 8, 2014.

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