~ By Neil Stolovitsky
In a world where the instant access to information has changed the way people in modern society communicate and collaborate, social media tools and social networking for many have become a paradigm that permeates their personal and professional lives. As a result, social media tools are partially responsible for introducing to the marketplace a new workforce and customer base that is challenging conventional methods of conducting business. In response to these changes, many organisations are re-evaluating the manner in which they share information among their workforce and respond to the demands of their customers.
At the heart of this new reality lies the project management world that heavily relies on the ability to effectively share and communicate project statuses to avoid bottlenecks and ensure success. Employing the best methods and technology is key to any successful project management environment. Although it is true that social media is one of the most popular new forms to communicate, project management organisations need to be cognisant of both the dangers and benefits that go along with this new technology. Before jumping on the "Social Media" bandwagon you need to gauge your readiness for successful adoption and make a well-informed decision that is aligned with your business goals and culture.
To help you evaluate your own project management organisation's alignment with social media tools you should ask yourself the following questions:
Unlike other collaboration tools, social media tools require a strategic plan that will ensure that you can maximise its benefits of increasing productivity and avoid its danger of sharing the wrong information with the wrong project stakeholders. For this very reason alone, developing a social media plan can mean the difference between improving customer engagement and hurting existing customer relationships.
Depending on the nature of your typical projects social media tools can create pollution that will hurt progress. For example, highly sensitive projects that requires the selective sharing of information among stakeholders should employ a more closed network and controlled flow of information that is in direct contradiction to the more transparent and fluid information exchange resulting from social media technology.
Certain industries can greatly benefit from social media technology while others will discover that its misaligned with their business. For example, new product development and marketing groups can leverage the benefits of better visibility and knowledge sharing, while the legal industry may discover that the unstructured natured of information capture by social media can hurt their processes.
Organisations need to gauge their readiness for progressive technology offered up by social media. If the business is resistant to adopt new technology the chances for success will be slim.
The informal use of social media tools is typically a good indicator that your organisation will successfully embrace a Social PPM strategy that is in line with your current collaboration tools.
Social media tools inherently encourage the transparency in sharing information. When implementing a Social PPM strategy an organisation needs to be selective in integrating the best social media tools that will reveal the right information to the right stakeholders.
Organisations with decentralised project teams that regularly collaborate and work from multiple locations can quickly benefit from the "on the go" nature delivered by social media tools designed to be access via multiple mobile platforms.
As the expression goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." It is important to evaluate how well your current collaboration and communication platform is functioning. If you are seeking room for improvement, by all means investigate what social media can offer your organisation. However, the introduction of new tools may introduce new problems. It is critical to assess the risk versus reward of social media and how it will ultimately impact your business as a whole.
Prior to adopting the latest collaboration tools offered up by social media, it is critical to assess your current collaboration platform. In a project-centric environment social media tools are more effective when they are able to enhance an already existent collaboration environment that delivers robust web and document management capabilities to its current workforce.
With the introduction of any new process or technology the change management question cannot be ignored. Including a change management component as part of the Social PPM strategy can mean the difference between the smooth adoption and a painful rejection of the new tool sets.
To learn how Genius Project can assist you in your social media strategy, check out our latest social collaboration capabilities delivered by Genius Live! at: www.geniusproject.com/social-project-collaboration-software