Re-Imagine Project Management

The other day I was having a v-con (voice conversation) with Dennis McDonald, a well-known advocate of using social media tools to support project management activities. We were having a great conversation when we had the idea that we should take it online. So here is the initial post of what we hope will be an ongoing and dynamic o-con (online conversation) about Social Project Management.

My key points for today:

  • Most of the value of a project plan comes from creating the plan, not having the plan.
  • Project Management is fundamentally about communication.

I think General Patton said something like, make the plan and then throw it away. (I am sure that is nowhere near the actual quote, but it serves my purposes). The point is that the process of design or creation is the point where knowledge is formed. The artifact of the creation process, the plan, has little relative value, as compared to the knowledge that was created. The lesson here is to be inclusive of everyone that will be a stakeholder of the project when you are developing the plan. Those that just see the plan document after the fact will be way behind the curve.

Use social media to engage stakeholders while a project is in the formative stages.

Once a project is underway, the most important role of project management is to keep everyone coordinated, i.e. to facilitate communication. If you think about all of the gantt charts, and cost estimates, and dashboards used on a project, they all serve one purpose; to effectively communicate what is going on. If these tools do not accomplish this function they are useless. Social media again can play a key role, because at its heart social media is about communication.

In many instances, the effective use of social media as a PM tool can reduce or eliminate the need for many traditional tools.

So Dennis, what say you?

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5 Responses

  1. I wrote a bit about project management and social software a few years ago: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/klogs/message/459

  2. Nice post. I agree that social media is key to supporting PM. On another note, have you tried using SmartDraw to create project management diagrams and charts? We’ve found it to be an effective communication tool. You can use it to create Gantt charts, schedules, timelines, process flows, org charts, etc. You can check it out and download a free trial here:
    http://www.smartdraw.com/specials/project-software.htm

    Best,
    Christine

  3. This is a great post about the importance of communications in project management. PM Hut has a very large database of Communications Management here: http://www.pmhut.com/category/communications-management/

  4. […] sure that titles like "There Is No One Project Management Tool to Rule Them All", "Re-Imagine Project Management", "Tools of Communication in Project Management" or even "What Do We Mean by […]

  5. …Most of the value comes from creating the plan, not having the plan

    This is so true as to be almost universally forgotten. Good officer training says the same about the US armed forces’ standardized 5- or 6-part order… and good training in expository writing says the same about the outline process.

    I specify good training because poor training fetishizes the plan itself, rather than the logic and understanding it embodies — and the ability to refresh them ‘on the fly’ as circumstances change. When that happens, the plan — no matter how richly articulated and colorfully GANTTed — degenerates into a mere checklist. It’s still useful in ensuring that things aren’t overlooked or falling through the cracks, which is not to be sniffed at, but it’s a dead thing.

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