In the modern workplace, projects face numerous pressures, from time constraints to communication challenges to shifting project goals. Communication is a primary issue, especially when a team doesn’t work together in a single location. This is increasingly common as more employees choose to work remotely. Social project management has developed as a way to address this common communication issue.
While social project management is still a new category, it integrates project portfolio management (PPM) and team management through social media-esque functionality. Team members can collaborate within the project ecosystem, and often work together in real time. We’ve highlighted a few ways that social project management can benefit your company, and improve communication.
1. Social project management maximizes open communication in teams.
In general, it provides a stream of activities that both people on the team and external stakeholders can see. You can imagine this very roughly as something similar to the Facebook News Feed. This allows all relevant parties, including but not limited to the team itself, stakeholders, and management, to keep up with activities and project status. Furthermore, team members can ask questions and engage with each other without having to send numerous emails. This streamlines communication and makes it easier to get the answers you need.
2. You can harness the knowledge of people outside the project team.
Traditionally, project management involves the project team only. However, there are sometimes people not on the team who may be able to answer questions or share ideas. With social project management, a team member can publish an issue, need, or question to the entire network (such as the department, or company). Anyone can then engage and assist in the accomplishment of the team’s goals. This collective intelligence is one of the most important and impactful characteristics of social project management.
3. It encourages an increase in transparency and alignment.
Goal alignment is often hard to achieve in distributed teams. Social PM tools can help by fostering ambient awareness, through a continuous news feed, which keeps everyone on the same page. This also creates transparency. When project goals and activities are clearly displayed, employees won’t feel out of the loop or ignored. This also creates accountability, as other people, including managers and sometimes clients, have access to the information.
4. Projects will be accomplished faster.
The tasks themselves are, at their root, the same. The process, however, is more efficient and streamlined. Because discussions can take place in real-time, without the delay of an email system, decisions can be made quicker. Brewing company Carlsberg, for example, saved a full man-year on their control system automation project by implementing ProjectPlace. Tasks that may traditionally involve a long chain of contacts and meetings to even get organized can be initiated and then managed within the system. Issues are often resolved before the project manager is even notified.
5. The team is empowered and engaged.
When using social PM software, all employees have the ability to participate and contribute in a major way to projects. Even people outside the team can answer questions and help to resolve issues, if need be. This brings the entire department or company together. Team members also benefit from regular, accessible interaction that keeps morale and engagement high.
Large-scale projects can rarely be executed by a single team alone. Outside expertise is often critical in answering questions, or overcoming roadblocks. Social project management tools help achieve such open collaboration, and enable the project community to get things done.