Social media for project managers

PMI introduced the »New Media Council« in 2009 whose members were tasked with writing blogs, delivering web presentations and do anything related with modern social media technologies. Their goal is on one hand to promote PMI in the web environment and on the other hand to understand how new trends in social media affect project managers.

Elizabeth Harrin, a member of this council and author of the popular blog A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, authored a book on the topic of how to successfully utilize social media in project management. According to her, social media is »Collaboration and Communication with Purpose«. Since the work of a project manager is mostly communication, this fits together well.

In her book the author first describes different media that are available to project managers, such as messaging systems, videoconferencing systems, podcasts and webcasts, blogs, microblogs, social networks, Wikis and more. She indicates how each technology could be incorporated into project management.

She then discusses implementing social media into project management, where she addresses how to convince executive management and project sponsors about the usefulness as well as the importance of using a methodology when starting implementation. She recommends that a new social media technology is introduced at the beginning of a new project and not in the middle of an ongoing project that already has established lines of communication. It is best to implement new technologies in small steps, for example we should introduce one technology at a time. It is also important to be selective in what we subject to new media in order to not create additional information overload. It is also a good practice to do proper risk management when introducing new technologies.

With social media the project team can collaborate more effectively which is especially important in situations where the team is not co-located. The project manager may also establish communication channels with project sponsors who are not involved in the project day-to-day. Also, the project manager may use social networks to further their own professional development.

The book introduces many new technologies that are freely available, but we have never considered how we could effectively incorporate them into project management.

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