April 23, 2014

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

How Social Media is bringing Project Managers together

Today I want to share an excellent example of how project management professionals are brough together by the power of social media. This is called a project management ‘flashblog‘ where more than 70 project management bloggers will be writing their thoughts on the title ‘What does project management mean to me – a Project Manager’s sermon’. All blogs will be published simultaneously on 25th September at 1am GMT.

Kudos to Shim Marom coordinating a first ever project management related global blogging initiative to publish a post on a common theme at exactly the same time. Globally bloggers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and the USA have committed to make a blogging contribution and the fruit of their labor is now available all over the web. All participating PMs are really excited by this and I’m also looking forward to sharing and viewing all the unique perspectives on project management from around the globe.

Much chatter is happening around the effort under the hashtag #pmFlashblog on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn.

The complete list of all participating blogs is found below so please go and check them out!

Also find the list of Twitter names from participating PMs! Now is your chance to follow and connect with your fellow PM practitioners all over the world.

 

 

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management – Part II: Webinars, Slideshare, Podcasts

For most Project Management professionals social media is already part of their lives. This article will look at Webinars, Slideshare and others and how it is adopted in project management.

Part I of this article, can be found here:

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management.

Part II: Facebook and Yammer

Part II: Blogs and Twitter

Part II: LinkedIn and Google+

WebinarWebinars

A webinar is essentially a seminar hosted on the web. It is also used to describe other types of meetings where the participants go to a website to see the presentation material.  Participants use their web browser to access a website for that meeting.This is very useful to present a topic to virtual teams attending from different parts of the country or even the world.

Many webinars are hosted weekly covering useful project management topics and contributions from people in the profession. An example is Roeder Consulting for free monthly webinars:

Podcasts

Podcasts are audio files that can be delivered on-demand and regularly through a mechanism that allows people to subscribe to the latest episodes, like RSS. Numerous project management topics are discussed on podcasts that you can download and for existing PMP’s this can count towards PDU’s.

slideshareSlideShare.net

SlideShare is a social network site that contains PowerPoint presentations and other documents that users create and upload. Searching on “project management” will find thousands of presentations about project management.

 

WIKI

The Wiki is likely the oldest platform and it’s a space in which users can add, modify and delete pages and content using a simple mark-up language. One of the more compelling features of a wiki is that its structure and content is created and maintained by the users themselves as it is grows and is being used. Wikis are flexible and can serve as the backbone for a small team’s shared notebook.

YouTubeYouTube

For the project manager, YouTube offers hundreds of videos on project management methodology. More people prefer video to text with certain types of information. Let your audience know your videos are intended to give them better and more compelling information. If you have distributed teams, set each group up with the means to create video updates. Not only will your status reports be more engaging, but putting faces to names creates a closer, more respectful team.

Refer to the article about 10 social media tools available to project managers for more details about the above mentioned platforms.

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Practical use for Social Media in Project Management – Part II:LinkedIn, Google+

By Linky van der Merwe

For most Project Management professionals social media is already part of their lives. This article will look at LinkedIn and Google+ and how it is adopted in project management.

Part I of this article, can be found here:

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management.

Part II: Facebook and Yammer

Part II: Blogs and Twitter

LinkedIn

LinkedIn for project managers

As a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn will help you find experts in project management. There are many project management related interest groups on LinkedIn which you may join. Add yourself to groups and communities that share common interests with you or your business.  Then follow and contribute to the discussions.    This way you can connect with as many project professionals as you like including experts who can answer questions and provide advice.

When I perform a search for project management groups, there are almost 7000 results, which can be narrowed down by adding more filters. Groups with the most members are displayed at the top and the number of active discussions are also shown.

With LinkedIn you can build your brand and profile to share with others, search for work, get valuable information about searching for work, and expand your network.  If you are not actively participating here as a project manager, I encourage you to read “Benefits of using LinkedIn”.

Google+

Google+ for project managersMost people have a Google profile and it’s very easy to join Google+. There are multiple interest groups to join discussions, watch webinars or even join Google hang-outs.

Google Hang-outs

With Google hang-out you connect with your colleagues, communities and customers via a video chat.  Google Hang Outs  is a great way you can have face to face conversations both privately and publicly. Collaborate in real-time, share ideas and even do interviews.  You can also record the conversation so it can be viewed at a later time

There are many project managers, Pages relating to project management, as well as PM communities. Use Google + to share posts, interesting links, photos, videos or perhaps events for project managers.

SEO value and Google Authorship

If you or your company has an online presence, there is also value in having a Google+ account for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. If you are a content creator, like I am, you can claim Google Authorship. It is really simple:

  1. Create a Google+ Profile and upload a high quality headshot and fill out the profile information.
  2. Go to plus.google.com/authorship, sign up with your email and click on the verification link that Google will send you.

The biggest advantage of doing this is if people search for a particular content, your Google Plus profile will be displayed including your photos and a brief description of who you are. If they like your content, there is a high probability people will add you to their circles to allow them to receive updates from you or your business.

Let us know in the Comments if you’re using LinkedIn or Google+ for your projects and how well that is working for you.

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Practical use for Social Media in Project Management – Part II: Blogging and Twitter

By Linky van der Merwe

For most Project Management professionals social media is already part of their lives.  This article will take a closer look at social media platforms, Blogs and Twitter and how they are adopted in project management.

Part I of this article, can be found here:

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management.

Practical use for Social Media in Project Management-Part II: Facebook Yammer

use of blogging in project managementBlogging

Blogs are made up of posts, which are short articles that appear in reverse chronological order on the blog. Blogs have an archive facility which will display historical posts by day, week, or month. In the project setting, it is the equivalent to a project notebook.

There are a number of ways blogs can be used to enhance the success of a project.

  • Project documentation – you can put all the project documentation on a blog.
  • Major milestone announcements - blogs are a great way to keep your team informed of the major phases that are coming up, as well as to recognize the good work your team has accomplished as milestones are passed.
  • Interesting pictures – keep blogs interesting by posting pictures of a product in various stages, or of people who are making a product that aren’t usually in the company newsletter.
  • Use of features – use comments fields, as well as tags and ratings features of blogs.

Decide early whether you want to use external blogging sites or internal blogs. Many products are available internally. SharePoint Workspace 2010 contains a blogging feature that your organization can use to create a blog that is private to your team.

Twitter for project managersMicro-blogging

Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging tool today. It allows you to send short messages to the internet, but limits the update to 140 characters and also permits your “tweets” to be protected. As with a blog, the tweets appear on your homepage in a long chronological stream, with the most recent comments at the top.

 

There are several ways to use Twitter to help you manage a project.

  • Project management articles – use search to find good articles about specific project management topics and best practices.
  • #Hashtags are used to help index the subject matter of your tweet. For example, the hashtag #pmot is used for tweets about “project management on Twitter”. When you click on the hashtag, you will immediately see a page full of the recent tweets that have used the same tag. This is a simple way that users can quickly filter for only tweets about specific subjects. You can also search for tweets by typing the hashtag in the Twitter search box. Other useful hashtags for project managers are: #projectmanager, #pmp, #project, #msproject, #project2010, and #pm. Also check #PMChat for Tweetups every Friday for an innovative way for project managers to get answers to project management questions and obtain different perspectives. Source: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/it-consultant/project-managers-get-social-with-pmchat/
  • Team hastags – a project team can decide on its own hashtags for the projects they’re working on. If your team is working on a business application project, you could decide on a hashtag to use across Twitter, such as #busapp. This will work for projects where security is less of a concern.

Twitter Lists

On the Home page of Twitter, your Twitter timeline can get cluttered very quickly. Twitter lists become useful as it allow you to group Twitter users. You can make a list of other users who are also in project management.  Every time you follow a person on Twitter who is also a project manager, you add them to your list. By following this process you will soon connect with project managers from all over the world who you can follow and collaborate with. Or create a list for your team relating to the project you are working on. Send them the URL of the list so they can see who you’ve added.

Consider  subscribing to other people’s lists. My Projectmanagement list contains 316 members and a number of subscribers. Now I can look at Tweets from project managers on my list and the lists that I’m subscribed to and see all the latest updates at a glance. I can retweet, share them with my followers or reply and collaborate.

Let us know in the Comments if you’re using Blogs or Twitter for your projects and how well that is working for you.

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Practical use for Social Media in Project Management – Part II: Facebook, Yammer

By Linky van der Merwe

For most Project Management professionals social media is already part of their lives whether they use it intentionally or not.  Let’s take a closer look at social media platforms already widely adopted in project management.

Part I of this article, can be found here: Practical use for Social Media in Project Management.

facebook-sm-projectmanagerFacebook

These days many project managers or project management companies have Facebook pages. On Facebook you can learn from experts about project management. You can create professional contacts to get questions answered or to jump to a suggested site.

When you perform a search for Pages on “Project Management”, you will find more than a 1000 Pages. A search for project managers, also give results for more than 1000 people, which can be refined to your own country or city to find people you may know.

Visit some Pages, find out what is being shared, Like Pages, join Groups and become part of the communities where you can contribute or where valuable information is shared.

yammer-sm-projectmanager

Yammer

Yammer is like Facebook’s equivalent, but in the corporate world, focused on the company. With Yammer, you can share announcements, create a team calendar of milestones, create pages for different interests, and upload documents.

Also consider posting your team norms, latest screenshots of the app for team members to comment on, and sharing video updates or team photos.

Yammer allows for more in-depth updates and comments can also be grouped into a “thread” beneath each post, allowing for a more conversational tone – See more at: http://www.geneca.com/social-media-meets-project-management/

Let us know in the Comments if you’re using Facebook or Yammer for your projects and how that is working for you.

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Practical use for Social Media in Project Management

By Linky van der Merwe

The purpose of this article series is to educate project management practitioners about the use of social media in the project management profession.

Part I will cover the benefits from using social media, as well as recommended best practices.

Part II will cover the platforms to consider and the value of each social media tool for the project manager.

socialmedia-bandwagonSocial Media Adoption

Social media is a reality, and its growth is destined to continue. The integration and adoption of social media into our personal and business lives is increasing.  There is no indication that it is going to stop anytime soon. If you are not currently involved with social media, either personally or professionally, and you have no plans to do so, you may find that you quickly get left behind.

Why Social Media

Managing relationships to build trust is especially important for projects managers, because it is becoming increasingly common for project team members to be distributed geographically while working on projects.

This increase in virtual teams makes the communication process more challenging; therefore more difficult to establish strong relationships and bonds that lead to high levels of trust.

Communications delivered through social media are potentially a valuable resource for developing trust between project team members.

Source: Herbert Remidez: Journal about the explosion of social media – the emerging practice of companies using social media to support project management.

http://www.ijbssnet.com/journals/Vol_3_No_3_February_2012/3.pdf

Benefits of Social Media

Social networks, both within and outside of companies, increase the value of collaboration by reducing the search and coordination costs of connecting parties who have related knowledge and interests. By developing and managing relevant formal social networks, organizations can facilitate communications that improve decision making and operations.

In a field like project management that depends on lessons learned and best practices to deliver repeatable results, the pool of resources you can tap into via social media is very powerful.

Best practices for Social Media

The best use of social media is to focus on building relationships. Make sure your team is in agreement with which social networking tools are to be used. You might want to document how the team should use the tools, when to use the tools, and what type of content should be contained, and not contained, in posts. There is a much stronger chance of the tools being used when everyone understand some fundamentals about them.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-za/project-help/use-twitter-facebook-and-other-social-media-to-help-manage-projects-and-teams-HA101929375.aspx

Privacy and security are valid concerns and must be taken into account when adopting social media into the workplace. You need processes and guidelines in place to ensure that social media is used responsibly and that care is taken when sharing information inside and outside of your team.

Social media is not a technology; it is culture, a culture created, supported and enabled by various technologies and applications that are constantly growing and changing. The true innovation is the cultural change that social media has bought about. People think, act, and communicate in a completely different way.

For example on Twitter, being able to discuss challenges with other project managers and hear from PMs in different sectors, provides an on-going roundtable that fosters continuous improvement.

http://workingwithoutwalls.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-use-of-social-media-in-project_19.html

Social media is an extraordinary opportunity to improve team collaboration at all levels. Social media is the way of the future. It will keep maturing, growing, and changing, but it is here to stay. Get on-board or be left behind!

Can Social Media Drive Project Success?

Can social media drive project success? Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives in South Africa. Recent studies have revealed that South African consumers have a very high motivation (70 percent versus, for example, 40 percent in the UK) to follow brands on social networks.  We use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and other social networking services to converse with friends and colleagues and to share photos, videos, and important moments in our lives.

Worldwide, Facebook enjoys 80 million unique visitors per month, YouTube 800 million and Twitter 160 million, according to DoubleClick Ad Planner.  In South Africa, users spend on average seven hours a week on social networking sites, with MXit and Facebook being the most popular sites.

Against the back-drop of these statistics Project Managers need to seriously consider the integration of social media with their project management tools. Let’s look at ways to do that and to evaluate if the use of social media tools can drive project success. Some aspects of security and confidentiality will also be covered.

In a previous article: “10 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Project Management” we referred to a number of different social media tools available to project managers which can be used for project delivery. Many social media tools are more widely adopted by project managers than we think.

Social Media adoption

Many social media tools like collaboration tools, instant messaging, podcasts, webinars and social networks are already used widely for project delivery.

Podcasts and webinars are especially used for further training of professional project managers, PMP’s, who gain professional development units (PDU’s) for attending. Project management training companies, like Roeder Consulting, hosts a webinar every month presenting project management topics, as well as inviting host speakers, with the audience being able to claim a PDU per session.  Attendees are also invited to become members of their LinkedIn group. This has grown them a large following and keeps them front of mind for training needs.

Social media tools which may be considered more during project delivery are blogs (project information distribution to virtual teams), Wiki’s and RSS, to subscribe to feeds relevant to your project or to information that will help develop project managers who are reporting into a Project Support Office (PMO).

Security and Confidentiality

By nature social media implies collaboration, mutual trust, and a strong sense of common purpose. With social media your company and project needs a policy the same way as you need a policy for the use of email or the internet. Ensure that employees and team members know about the policy and follow an education program to ensure compliance with regulatory and legal guidelines.

Security concerns around the open flow of communication using social media tools can be addressed by using access controls to manage the flow of data. Give usernames and passwords to only those people who need to log in. Access control administration can be delegated to a PMO or a project support officer. Have a process for requesting access to the tool. For third parties requests, access may be limited by assigning permissions to certain “views” only. Some social media tools have an audit trail facility with which you can track changes.

Include social media tools in the company backup processes and business continuity plans. Another consideration around authorized software is to allow only social media tools that are supported by your IT department in order to not make you vulnerable to viruses and other security threats.

With proper consideration, project managers and their teams could adopt appropriate social media tools and by following the proper channels to put approved social media tools in place, this will enhance successful project delivery.

BIO: Linky vd Merwe is a certified project management professional (PMP) and Founder of Virtual Project Consulting.  She has been a senior project manager at Microsoft Consulting Services South Africa for the past 4.5 years.  She likes to blog about project management and integrated online communication marketing. Her mission is to provide project management best practices advice and to recommend resources to aspiring and existing project managers.

Social Media Savvy Project Management

Since social media has become mainstream in the business world, this article is asking the question if social media tools have been adopted by project managers to improve successful project delivery. Also view the previous articles: 10 Ways to integrate Social Media with Project Management and Project Managers are you Twitter Smart?

Project managers use various tools like email, tele-conferences and video-conferencing on a daily basis, but are we embracing the new technologies available now? Are we making best use of the tools we now have? With project teams spread out over the globe, virtual teams working from different locations, are we making best use of our new communication methods?

Have a look at this presentation from Trevor Roberts to see what I mean.

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