Daily, project managers are required to collaborate to an awesome degree across a huge range of disciplines and intersecting social graphs. What better technology for making their lives easier, then, than social media platforms?
The social media are built on the idea that collaborative power boosts the potential of any endeavour by orders of magnitude. In the early days of social media’s history (I’ve blogged with reference to this before) we were given shining examples of the way that mass collaboration could get things done – bands being picked up for record deals, anti-warprotests being organised – and more recently but no less impressive in their way, the apparent mobilisation of mass groups of rioters in the UK.
Collaboration is the key word. Social media technology allows you to set up a project blog, which embodies the core aims of the project, posts updates and becomes an open forum for discussion amongst the project’s leading lights. Or you can use web based project management software, which is effectively social media based and allows you to connect all the diaspora of your project in one place – a place transcending time zones, geography and interdisciplinary boundaries.
One of the most useful functions of social media technology is its ability to organise content into meaningful streams – allowing the project manager to collect conversations regarding each developing strand of the project into groups that make sense. By tagging each post or update with relevant keywords, projectmanagers can also interrogate the social media stream for their projects for references to key events and milestones – making the process of keeping tabs on project progress much easier to keep a handle on.
Twitter is an excellent social media model for real time project management. Give hash tags to each project, or to specific elements within a project, and you’ll be able to query specific parts of a project instantly.
Using a wiki for a project avoids document problems – most often caused when some members of a project team are working from outmoded documentation without even knowing it. If there’s a project wiki with you and other key figures editing as it goes then everyone involved in the endeavour can find what they need, when they need it by referring to a single source document.
Bear in mind that communication is the root of all understanding – and the more your team understands, the better it performs. And communication is also the root of all friendship – a vital component of any really successful project. As well as using social media technology to manage workflow and keep tabs on the different parts of the project, you can use regular social media contact to develop your relationship with key players in the mission.
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter may also be researched and used to find peer information – and to source the right people for the job. Find people by reputation or by their social graph information – and start using the social streams to put together the best team you can for the job at hand.