Social Networking Meets Project Management

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, provide a way for people to communicate and share information with others based on different types of networks.  These networks are typically centered on some sort of relationship level.  LinkedIn, for example, focuses on building a professional network of colleagues, former co-workers, and other work-related relationships.  Facebook, on the other hand, is more open and allows for a variety of networks, such as families, schools, businesses, causes, groups, cities, or some other relationship category.

Billions of people visit these social networking sites on a daily basis to see what’s new in the lives of their network buddies.  They post updates and photos to let others know what’s going on in their own lives, in hopes that they will receive some sort of recognition for their post.  Social networkers thrive on comments, status updates, new photos, and other conversational information.  People love feedback and love be recognized for their accomplishments and social networking sites allow them to do this quickly and easily.  And it’s for this very reason that Facebook now surpasses Google in the number daily visits it receives.

People are good at talking about themselves and love to see others talking about them in return.

So what does all of this have to do with project management?  Well, to begin with, projects require project teams and teams are a form of relationship.  In the same way that Facebook organizes networks on a common cause, a project organizes a team on a common cause; i.e. to complete the project on time and under budget.  The same people that use Facebook or Twitter at home are the same team members that come to work everyday.  They want to be recognized for their accomplishments, feel like their contributing to the cause, and be able to collaborate with their co-workers.  

Here’s the problem.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking sites, as great as they are, don’t provide the tools needed to effectively manage projects.  Executives can’t use Facebook to organize multiple projects, identify potential project risks, and manage hundreds of resources.  Project managers can’t simply post an update or send out a Friend Request to keep projects on time and under budget.  Managers need a robust tool that allows them to plan projects, identify tasks, monitor schedules, allocate resources, manage documents, improve processes, collaborate with co-workers, and manage the hundreds of other little tasks needed to successfully complete a project. 

Many of the current project management tools do a good job of helping project managers, and even executives, do their job better.  They provide colorful reports and dashboards, interactive Gantt charts, business case builders, and time tracking sheets.  And so much more!  But, they fail to involve the team member.   What ends up happening is a traditional, time-consuming process of status update requests, backlogs, quality checks, manual time entry, and missed deadlines.  

Project tasks are forced upon the team members, never giving them an opportunity discuss deliverables or deadlines.   No recognition is given for a job well done and the communication between the project manager and the team member is lacking at best.  The numbers presented in the dashboards and reports do not accurately reflect the true story.  And why does this occur?  It happens because the team members never use, or don’t have access to, the same software being used by the project managers.  They don’t update the status of their assignments because the process is too cumbersome and doesn’t provide them with any tangible or intangible benefits.   The end result is that the “real-time” status report is really a “week-late” status report.  The information presented to the Senior Manager is not the same information being entered by the team member. 

What if there was a better way to manage products? What if there was a way to involve the team member more – a way to use the ideas of social networking to help manage projects?  Networks could be organized around projects and status updates and photos could be related to the project.  Time could be easily entered, project status quickly reported, and everything automatically submitted to update the project schedule, executive reports, and account for the resources needed to complete the project.   Project and team collaboration could be simpler and could focus on the completing the tasks at hand.  Conversational information could provide additional insight into the true status of the project and team members could be recognized by their peers for a job well done.

Can the concepts of social networking be applied to project management?  Is there such a thing as social project management and will it be the wave of the future?  Can the two categories be blended into one?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, provide a way for people to communicate and share information with others based on different types of networks.  These networks are typically centered on some sort of relationship level.  LinkedIn, for example, focuses on building a professional network of colleagues, former co-workers, and other work-related relationships.  Facebook, on the other hand, is more open and allows for a variety of networks, such as families, schools, businesses, causes, groups, cities, or some other relationship category.Billions of people visit these social networking sites on a daily basis to see what’s new in the lives of their network buddies.  They post updates and photos to let others know what’s going on in their own lives, in hopes that they will receive some sort of recognition for their post.  Social networkers thrive on comments, status updates, new photos, and other conversational information.  People love feedback and love be recognized for their accomplishments and social networking sites allow them to do this quickly and easily.  And it’s for this very reason that Facebook now surpasses Google in the number daily visits it receives.People are good at talking about themselves and love to see others talking about them in return.So what does all of this have to do with project management?  Well, to begin with, projects require project teams and teams are a form of relationship.  In the same way that Facebook organizes networks on a common cause, a project organizes a team on a common cause; i.e. to complete the project on time and under budget.  The same people that use Facebook or Twitter at home are the same team members that come to work everyday.  They want to be recognized for their accomplishments, feel like their contributing to the cause, and be able to collaborate with their co-workers.  Here’s the problem.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networking sites, as great as they are, don’t provide the tools needed to effectively manage projects.  Executives can’t use Facebook to organize multiple projects, identify potential project risks, and manage hundreds of resources.  Project managers can’t simply post an update or send out a Friend Request to keep projects on time and under budget.  Managers need a robust tool that allows them to plan projects, identify tasks, monitor schedules, allocate resources, manage documents, improve processes, collaborate with co-workers, and manage the hundreds of other little tasks needed to successfully complete a project. Many of the current project management tools do a good job of helping project managers, and even executives, do their job better.  They provide colorful reports and dashboards, interactive Gantt charts, business case builders, and time tracking sheets.  And so much more!  But, they fail to involve the team member.   What ends up happening is a traditional, time-consuming process of status update requests, backlogs, quality checks, manual time entry, and missed deadlines.  Project tasks are forced upon the team members, never giving them an opportunity discuss deliverables or deadlines.   No recognition is given for a job well done and the communication between the project manager and the team member is lacking at best.  The numbers presented in the dashboards and reports do not accurately reflect the true story.  And why does this occur?  It happens because the team members never use, or don’t have access to, the same software being used by the project managers.  They don’t update the status of their assignments because the process is too cumbersome and doesn’t provide them with any tangible or intangible benefits.   The end result is that the “real-time” status report is really a “week-late” status report.  The information presented to the Senior Manager is not the same information being entered by the team member. What if there was a better way to manage products? What if there was a way to involve the team member more – a way to use the ideas of social networking to help manage projects?  Networks could be organized around projects and status updates and photos could be related to the project.  Time could be easily entered, project status quickly reported, and everything automatically submitted to update the project schedule, executive reports, and account for the resources needed to complete the project.   Project and team collaboration could be simpler and could focus on the completing the tasks at hand.  Conversational information could provide additional insight into the true status of the project and team members could be recognized by their peers for a job well done.Can the concepts of social networking be applied to project management?  Is there such a thing as social project management and will it be the wave of the future?  Can the two categories be blended into one?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/project-management-articles/social-networking-meets-project-management-2569166.html

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