In Part 1 of this two-part article, I shared some uses for Twitter in helping to manage your projects. This time we look at a few other tools that I’ve found helpful.
Facebook in Project Management
There are a few reasons why Facebook can become an important part of your team’s project management style.
Learn from Experts!
You can use Facebook to learn from experts about project management methodology. The advantage of Facebook over forums for learning methodology is its global impact. These days, most if not all project management experts have a Facebook page. This means that you can create professional contacts quickly to get questions answered or to jump to a suggested site. You might call this a one-stop investigation of your possibilities.
Here are a couple of Facebook pages where you can learn about methodology:
Connect with Other Project Managers
One of the lessons of any kind of social networking is the feeling that you’re not alone. Imagine! People are not only listening to you, they have the same problems as you. Now, that doesn’t necessarily make the problems go away, but at least you can find a few more people (OK, a few thousand more) to help you figure out what is wrong with your project.
Get Your Microsoft Project Questions Answered
If you ask questions about Microsoft Project by visiting its Facebook page, Project MVPs as well as writers on Project (like me) are among the faces that can help you use Microsoft Project or Microsoft Project Server.
The Value of Blogging for Project Management
Blogging about your project isn’t just about giving a project manager’s personal viewpoints and pictures of project-related activities (amid the pics of your recent vacation, cat, and wedding). Here’s my advice for using a blog to enhance the success of your project.
Major Milestone Announcements
Blogs are a great way to keep your team informed of major phases that are coming up. They’re also an effective means for publicly recognizing the good work your team has accomplished as milestones are passed.
Keep It Interesting
OK, a few pictures isn’t going to hurt anyone. From a project management perspective, one way to keep blogs interesting and people-oriented is by displaying pictures of a product in various stages, or of people who are making a product that aren’t usually in the company newsletter, such as assemblers and packagers.
Everyone on the Team Needs to Blog
If only one person is writing blogs, then a sense of team is lost, as well as a sense of team investment. After all, it isn’t only the project manager who is thinking about a project. Highlighting those who are also involved in the project adds a face and voice that keeps people on track and motivated. After all, team motivation and investment is rarely talked about in project management, even if the management style includes Agile technologies. Social networking is one way to change this.
Use All the Features of a Blog
Make sure you’re using comments fields, as well as tags and ratings features of blogs. These features allow a project manager to understand the different perspectives that individual team members bring to a project. Often it’s the fresh perspective that can send a stuck project on a new track to success.
Going Public or Private with Your Blog
You need to decide early on 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.
Other Ways to Use Social Networking in Project Management
Social media for project managers doesn’t stop with the big three, Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. There are a host of other approaches to social media that can help build a project, and add a sense of purpose and team investment to a project. Here are just a few more.
Slideshare is a social network site that contains PowerPoint presentations and other documents that users create and upload. Searching on “project management” will uncover links to thousands of presentations about project management methodology.
For the project manager, YouTube offers hundreds of videos on project management methodology. Videos on Microsoft Project can also be viewed there.
As a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn will help you find experts in project management and Microsoft Project. For example, the Project Users Group on LinkedIn has hundreds of project management professionals you can contact with questions and advice.
Oh, and we can all use a few thousand more friends, can’t we?
A version of this article first appeared in Microsoft’s Project 2010 blog.
Toney Sisk is a Microsoft writer who focuses on Microsoft Project. He twitters from Redmond, WA.