I love building software. Thinking of new features; ways to use them – and thinking about how to help people manage both their teams and their clubs. But I’ve also noticed that you’ve also got to think about the people in your team and club if you want teamstuff to really help. And like any tool – it can be used well or used badly. And there’s a common pattern to those clubs that are the most successful – they really think about their members as they roll teamstuff out. In fact, the quick summary of those successful rollouts is;
- Have the authority to rollout to the entire club
- Communicate with your people
- Be firm.
- Share your ideas
- Have a Teamstuff Ambassador.
In some more detail – one of those successful clubs is South Melbourne Districts Junior Football Club here in Melbourne. I asked James Ramsden, their self-appointed Teamstuff Ambassador what worked – and what didn’t, and how they solved those issues.
I’m a big fan of Teamstuff – I’ve used it for the team I manage for a couple of years – and this helped us as a club decide to implement it across all teams. But being a big fan doesn’t automatically mean the roll out to the club will be all plain sailing. Here are a couple of tips that will help iron out the bumps and you’ll be up in no time.
First of all it’s got to be a club decision to go with Teamstuff. The committee is the power – they have to say yes and you’re guaranteed of success (even though you’ll hit a few speed humps along the way).
Secondly, some people will resist using Teamstuff. They’ve got their own way of communicating – whether it be pigeons or sending 4 million emails – you’re dealing with entrenched habits.
One of our problems during the roll out to the club was Team Managers ( TMs ) not been strong enough with parents to say NO I will not communicate via e-mail, SMS – it is Teamstuff or nothing. We now say, “If you do not use Teamstuff your son/daughter will not be selected in the team as this is how we manage team lists”. This threat was enough to get people on board.
A big push for us at South Melb Districts Junior next season is to ram that message home to coaches, TMs, parents and players.
Understanding what’s behind this resistance is important – people don’t like change. Getting them to use Teamstuff is the key – be strong that it’s the only way and that will help them get over the biggest issue which is not knowing how it works. I found that just by doing it, you work it out. I encourage any team or club to get started.
One big challenge is when you move to squads – e.g. U13 – 2 teams operating as a squad. You have kids who will sit in both teams and will be rostered on/off during the season from one team to the other – with collaboration and hopeful improvements to Teamstuff for rostering on/off it allows clubs and teams to communicate to parents no matter what team they sit in from one week to the other. It’s a challenge every week in the older age groups with player availability, illness, injury, league player movement policy, etc.
Teamstuff for clubs – an awesome platform to communicate important information/messages – brilliant that you can include sponsors on comms.
I’m a big fan of Teamstuff because it makes it easier for me (as TM) but also because the parents love it (our teams are junior football and basketball). When the parents love it, you know roll out is going to work.
Rolling out into the teams, I made myself available (as the go to person for Teamstuff issues) to all tm’s for questions. I started a group email (we set up a Teamstuff email for tm’s) so everyone could see and learn from questions that came up.
We started a few weeks before games began and by the first game, everyone was on board.
The benefits of the club version have been the ease with which club officials can communicate with all teams – and the overwhelming positive feedback from parents!
Now the season’s almost over, we don’t hear any more complaints about having to use Teamstuff, every team is on board and so is every player. And all’s quiet – and we can focus on the game! Now that’s impressive!
I’ve seen a lot of clubs rolling it out – and here’s my summary of the best practice tips to guarantee your club and your teams get all the benefits.
- Have the authority to rollout to the club. Once the club hierarchy understands how the club, all the team managers and all the parents will benefit – it’s usually plain sailing from there.
- Communicate with your teams and clubs. People like understanding why they should change from “carrier pigeons” to teamstuff. Bring them on the journey – most will see why.
- Be firm. In any club, and often in any team – they’ll be a couple who will resist change. That’s not just your club – that’s every club. But that’s not your issue – that’s their issue. If one team member wanted the schedule delivered by snail mail – you’d just say no – that’s unreasonable to expect you to do all that extra work for one person. Standardise on one way to communicate to the team – it’s called teamstuff! Then be firm – we’re got one communication channel for everything – be a part of it. ( and remember teamstuff gives information to people in the way they want it – web, email, smart apps, push notifications, text messages, calendar integration, today widget. But not snail mail. 😉 )
- Share Your Ideas. James setup a group for easy communication of how best to use teamstuff. Great idea for your club – just like you’d share best coaching tips – it’s the same with the boring administration and communications.
- Have a Teamstuff Ambassador – someone who can front line most of the club’s first questions. In this case it was James – having one person who can help people through that first change – another great way to speed up the rollout. By seeing common questions specific to your club – and knowing what your club is trying to achieve means solutions can be found in the shortest possible time.
There you go – 5 best practice tips to make your club rollout as easy as possible. And lastly – big thanks to James for sharing his experiences rolling out to the entire club. It’s always nice to hear how it’s working for real people – real clubs. At the end of the day – that’s what we’re building that software for!