December 14, 2017


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

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. See links to Part II articles at the end.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Continue reading the series on the Practical Use for Social Media in Project Management:

Part II: Facebook and Yammer

Part II: Blogs and Twitter

Part II: LinkedIn and Google+

Part II: Webinars, Slideshare, Podcasts

Please subscribe to the RSS feed to read more articles from Virtual Project Consulting.

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.

Hi! Welcome to Virtual Project Consulting. If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe via the RSS feed. New to project management or aspiring to become a project manager? Please subscribe to the Blog (to the right) and receive The Short Guide to becoming a PMP. Thanks for visiting!



Project Managers are you Twitter Smart?

Twitter for project managers While many project managers are social media active today, there are still organizations which don’t understand the value of using social media, and specifically Twitter, in the work-place. This is a follow-up article on the previous social media article: 10 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Project Management

The value that Twitter can bring, is a whole new perspective on project management and this article will look at ways for project managers to become Twitter smart.

While Twitter is recognized as a social media tool that can assist with successful project delivery, it is often not taken seriously as a business tool. This is simply because of the vast amount of information that is available on Twitter at any one time–over 250 million tweets per day. To ensure that Twitter is a valuable tool, you need to be able to extract only information which is most relevant for you; otherwise, it defeats the object of improving project delivery. One way to do this is by using the #PMOT hashtag.


For those unfamiliar with Twitter, hashtags are a way to flag something, and “PMOT” stands for Project Managers (or Management) on Twitter. When you combine hashtags with Twitter you have an easy way to locate much of the PM-related content on Twitter in a single place.

How to become Twitter Smart

Here are some recommended practices to help you benefit from #PMOT:

  • Identify people that you want to follow. Add them to a list. Be cautious not to try and follow hundreds or thousands of people, because you cannot possibly keep track of that volume of Tweets. 
  • Identify blogs, articles, sites that you can bookmark.  #PMOT can act almost like an automated Google search for you–bringing search results to you without you having to go and work to find them.
  • Identify curators – people who make the effort to find the best content and make it available with their own comments.  There are plenty of project management sites that have a great daily publication.
  • Stay current with what’s happening in your industry and profession. There are many industry organizations who actively contribute to Twitter (PMI, for example). Twitter can give you an easy way to stay current with what is happening with them.
  • Find other activities to become a part of. #PMOT will lead you toward #pmchat, for example–an hour-long, weekly Twitter conversation from 12—1 p.m. North American Eastern time that gives you a chance to interact with other PMs and discuss topics/issues of the day. (If you miss the live chat there is a record of the conversation on Twitter under the #pmchat hashtag.)
  • You still need to use judgment in consuming this content–there’s no point in bookmarking 100 different project management sites as you can’t possibly keep track of them all while still doing the job that you are employed to do.

Twitter for Organizational use

By now you can appreciate using Twitter as a personal tool for individual PMs, but there is also a lot of benefit for the organization. Consider how Project Management Offices (PMO’s) can use Twitter to improve project effectiveness and streamline processes. A tremendous amount of content is already developed to assist in the continuous improvement of the PMO, and much of it is available within the public domain.

Twitter not only helps to socialize the availability of that content–it can assist the organization in connecting with people who have used it before and share their experiences. It may also be used to initially connect with those people.

For organizations that have a page on their intranet containing links to websites that offer best practices, hints and tips, you can prevent that content to become outdated by using the #PMOT. This will help you find a lot of content that can be applied to your organization and to keep that links page fresh.

Be Twitter Smart by contributing

Twitter is not only a social media tool to consume content, but it also provides opportunities to contribute to Twitter discussions. When you represent an organization, as long as you keep to your company’s social media policies, you can use Twitter to do formal announcements, share information on the corporate website like job opportunities for example, share tips and tools etc.

As Project Managers we can also contribute as part of the PM community. This can be achieved by sharing your knowledge and experiences on Twitter by posting a useful link or a lesson learned. This way you can connect with people who have common interests and goals.


As a PMP and blogger, I’ve been using Twitter for a few years for all the reasons above. It has helped me to connect with project managers from all over the world, to easily find good information and RSS feeds to keep up to date with the Project Management Industry and of course, for exposure so that more people will find me and my blog about project management best practices and tools as well as recommended resources. Please subscribe here.

If you would like a head start on Twitter, you are welcome to follow me: Virtualpm

Here are my lists that I have created over time and lists that I follow:

Don’t forget to use Search #PMOT on Twitter to build your own lists or to find good lists to follow.

About the author: Linky Van Der Merwe is the Founder of Virtual Project Consulting. She is a Project Management Consultant and an IT Project Manager for the past 12 years and currently working at Microsoft Consulting Services.

10 Ways to Integrate Social Media with Project Management

For the past 3 years I was active on various social media platforms, especially since I’ve been blogging about Project Management. Initially my intention with social media was to become more visible and to attract free traffic to my website. What I realise now, is that social media has already become integrated with Project Management and is more widely adopted by project managers than we think. The purpose of this article is to have a look at 10 social media tools that are available to project managers to use during project delivery.

Social Media for project managers According to Elizabeth Harrin, author of “Social Media for Project Managers” Project Management Institute, there are a number of different social media tools available to project managers.  We will look at ten tools with a short description of what they mean.


  1. Blogs: In the project setting, it is the equivalent to a project notebook or a shared project log. 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.
  2. Collaboration tools: Software solutions that are designed to help manage teams and get the job done. They are used for storing of all project information, contacts, documents, and discussion in one place. Consequently, the software becomes the main place for project team members to go for updates on tasks and to work with other people.
  3. Instant messaging: A way of sending short text messages to colleagues through the computer. It is similar to email, but faster and with shorter messages, because you know the person is at the other end available to reply. You can see a list of colleagues and their status as to whether they are available to message or not, which saves you contacting someone who is unavailable. This is called “presence” and can extend to other types of technologies as well.
  4. Microblogs: This is blogging on a very small scale. It allows you to send short messages to the internet for public consumption. The most popular microblogging tool today  is Twitter ( which limits the update to 140 characters, the length of a text message on a mobile device, and also permits your “tweets” to be protected if you would prefer that they are only seen by your friends. As with a blog, the tweets appear on your homepage in a long chronological stream, with the most recent comments at the top.
  5. Webinars: 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.
  6. Podcasts:  Audio files that are listened to either through your computer’s speakers or through a download to an MP3 player.  A podcast is an on-demand audio file delivered regularly through a mechanism that allows people to subscribe to the latest episodes, like RSS.
  7. Vodcasts: A video podcast; video on demand delivered regularly through a mechanism that allows people to subscribe to the latest episodes, like RSS. Think mini-TV series. Vodcasts are typically not that long and are designed to be watched on small screens.
  8. RSS: RSS for Virtual Project Consulting

It stands for Really Simple Syndication. It’s called syndication because, like a news syndicate, information is sent to multiple channels at a time.  This allows you to subscribe to updates. Every time a new news article is posted, the RSS feed is updated and, as a subscriber, you will get the update. There are software tools (called RSS readers like Google Reader, or aggregators) which organize all your feeds in one place.

9. Social networks:  Online groups that are designed to bring people with common interests together. You can connect with friends that you know both in the real world and those friends that you have never met in person. Individuals create a profile which includes details about themselves and normally a photo. From your profile you can connect to others. LinkedIn and Facebook are two of the most popular social networks today.

10. Wikis: ‘Wiki’ is Hawaiian for “quick.” It’s also an acronym for “What I Know Is.  A wiki is a collection of web pages that are written by a group of people, normally on a particular topic—your project, in this case. The wiki acts as a knowledge repository. Wiki software makes it easy to add pages and link them to other pages, which creates a hyperlinked data set. In essence, a Wiki can form the collective knowledge from your project team, organized in web page format.

Please let me know in the comments section which of the social media tools you’re using or perhaps other social media tools?

Do you think that these tools help you with project delivery?

Social Business Forecast for 2011

Keynote from Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst and Web Strategist from Altimeter.
Social Business Forecast: 2011 The Year of Integration. Research reveals corporations to focus on integration, staffing, advertising, and measurement in 2011.

Blogging with 6-step plan to attract clients to your business

Blogging will attract potential clients

For your Business Blog you can create a 6-step plan that will turn your blog into an effective tool that will drive potential clients to your business 24/7.

1.Define goals for your blog

Your goal for a business blog could be to become more known to your target market and attract clients to your business. To assist with goal setting, here are a few questions to answer about your business blog:

a) What is your blog’s purpose?

b) What are the goals for your blog?

c) Who is your ideal audience?

d) What is your core message?

2. Pick good blogging software

Blogging software starts with choosing blogging software that’s right for you. There are several choices out there like Typepad, Blogger and, but I prefer to use WordPress on my own domain for its ease of use.

3. Find topics that your target market wants to read about

Do research through online social networks and search engines to find topics. Also check out to find blogs on topics related to your niche market.

4. Always write blog posts that are of interest to your target market.

Once you know who your audience is and what their needs and interests are, it becomes easier to write content that is relevant for your readers. However, it is important to keep your content topical, informative and non-promotional. A blog post should be 400-600 words. Interactive media like images, videos or even polls and surveys will enrich your content.

5. Bring traffic to your blog

To get benefits from blogging, you need to create a strategy to bring traffic to your blog. One traffic strategy that works well for me is to use social media. My blog posts are syndicated to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as to other Social Bookmarking sites by using a WordPress plugin called OnlyWire. See a post I did about using Social Bookmarking for generating traffic and how to automate the process.

6. Convert blog traffic into clients

In addition to bringing traffic to your blog you need to have a procedure in place for turning your blog readers into clients. Remember that you want readers to return to your blog. Make it easy for them by providing RSS or email subscription on your blog. Also use opt-in forms to capture leads (name and email) in order to continue communicating with potential clients. Once they get to know, like and trust you, they won’t think twice to become your clients when you have something good to offer.

Please comment on what else works for your blog and why…

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