Ryan Enders has a post about using Social Media to help manage projects. Notice "help."
Ryan mentions what social media is being used in an article in PMI's PM Magazine. The referenced McKinsey study claims:
- 69% of respondents reported "gains in measurable business benefits."
- 10% improvement in operational costs
- 30% increase in the speed with which employees connect with outside experts.
The PMI article states
Depending on how they're used, social networking sites, blogs, and wikis can be powerful tools for intra-team collaboration.
All this collaboration stuff is critical to project success. But is collaboration using the latest social media tools "project management."
Let's quickly review the knowledge groups of Project Management.
- Project Integration Management
- Project Scope Management
- Project Time Management
- Project Cost Management
- Project Quality Management
- Project Human Resource Management
- Project Communications Management
- Project Risk Management
- Project Procurement Management
Now social media as a communication enabler can add value to the communication needs of these process groups. This is not new news. Even in our defense and space practice, we live on IM and SharePoint. Both might be categorized as Social Media. Team Sites, chats with people at multiple locations, document control, dashboards, WebEx, and other "connection tools."
But are these tools Project Management?
They support the management of the project, no doubt. But so did the HP9000 based electronic contract management and program management tools used at Hughes Aircraft for the AH-64 in late 1970's, described in Project Management Lessons Learned.
Was this called PM 2.0? Was it social media? There was chat across the terminals with remote vendors. There was collaborative development of documents and databases between multiple sites using the tools of the HP9000 (a wonderful machine with a very fast processor).
Project Status Updates using Twitter
As a emeritus program was fond of saying,
"Are you out of your ever lov'in mind."
You might as well scratch your project status on the wall of the men's stall.
First project status is ALWAYS a report of physical percent complete against the planned percent complete. This is a number, some percentage, which can certainty be sent bu email, IM, twitter, and even scratched on the stall.
But that's not the "status" of the project. That the physical percent complete at the end of the reporting period - weekly in our domain.
The status of the project is the face to face, or video face-to-face conversation between live people about how you got to that physical percent complete, what prevented you from reaching the planned physical percent complete, and what you're going to do to get back to GREEN for the next assessment of your physical percent complete.
The Core Paradigm Gap
Reporting a numeric value is not "Project Management." No matter how you restate the hype, chatting, twittering, posting docs in MOSS, looking at pictures on WebEx is not "managing the project."
It's exchanging information about the project - possibly. Exchanging information through a very narrow bandwidth channel. And since the channel is narrow, communication errors are mandatory.
Those suggesting PM2.0 of the next big thing have failed to understand that a successful PM relies heavily on face-to-face communication. The agilest know this and state this in their Agile Manifesto.
So how is it we've moved away from this fundamental understanding? I have some conjectures:
- Those conjecturing PM 2.0 don't actually manage projects, they develop software. And since PM 2.0 is a project tool, they assume those of us who manage projects will really like their tool.
- That the core understanding of the process areas and knowledge groups of PMBOK and similar items in other PM framework are either not understood, nor practiced, and both in the world the PM 2.0.
Show Me the Money - Ron Tindell to Jerry McGuire
Please show me in units of measure meaningful to our clients (Enterprise IT, US DoD, DOE) for "managing" projects with tools like twitter, IM, and other "social media."