We all have experienced directly or indirectly the increasing use of social media like Facebook, Twitter. Yet social media is more than Facebook and it can be or, better said, it should be used in project management. According to Jessica Keyes (Enterprise 2.0, 2013) social media enhances productivity, efficiency, and maybe even competitive advantage.

How much has project management and project managers changed the way we work? On 10 September 2014 the Project Management Specialist Group of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, will present the importance of social media and its implementation for project management with the expert Jonnie Jensen. Jonnie is a social business strategist and founder of Live And Social. He will explain how project managers can confidently ‘go social’.

We are social by nature

As pointed out by Mark Earls (Herd, 2007), ‘we and our behaviour are made and shaped through our interaction with others’. The understanding of our social nature and the fact that one of the critical factors that impact on the projects success is the human element. This explains the need to implement collaborative and social technologies in the project management.

McKinsey’s ‘Social Economy’ report of 2012 informs that one of the common characteristics of successful networked organisations is a high degree of trust and willingness to collaborate between colleagues.

Information is key for decision-making

In any project the team members spend a considerable amount of time working with others either together or apart. The sharing of information and knowledge to solve problems does not occur on its own, it is down to the project manager to develop an appropriate structure and implement effective technologies for this sharing to be present and make a difference to the project´s success. 

When the team members have the technologies to communicate and share data, information and knowledge on real-time then it is faster the decision-making and problem solving of their work and any unplanned issues that may occur.

Furthermore, the project board and stakeholders must collaborate with the project management team with a clear vision of what is to be achieved and the cost. Being able to use social media means they can interact more often without waiting for the traditional fixed meetings to change requirements, which usually impacts the work carried out by the project team members. It is important that they all collaborate effectively to achieve their common goal. 

Interactive project management for effectiveness and success

For the project manager to engage with the team and influence the different members, he/she requires the attitude to ‘go social’ using new technologies that enable to effectively communicate across multiple levels of the project and the free flow by everyone. All the people involved in the project can interact with each other.

I believe the engagement is more valuable than silence as dialogue brings a significant response when change and innovation are required during the delivery of the project.

Implementing social media is key

The way the social media strategy is implemented is key to avoid any potential for risk of exposing the corporate brand to public criticism, along with disclosure concerns, other potential leaks of confidential information that cause concern for boards and legal departments. Therefore, policies for the use of social media tools should be in place ensuring their appropriate use for the project.

Further reading 

  • Keyes, K. (2013) Enterprise 2.0 Social Networking Tools to Transform Your Organisation. US, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Earls, M. (2007) Herd: How to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature, Wiley.
  • McKinsey’s ‘Social Economy’ report of 2012
  • Social Retention Strategies by Jonnie Jensen (slides)

About the authors

Jonnie Jensen is a social business strategist. Jonnie tweets from @jonniejensen.

Ricardo Mateos Gallardo is a Committee Member of the Project Management Special Group.