Using social media in project management

Using social media in project management

With growing maturity of social media over the last few years, many companies considered using these tools to interact with customers and employees. Business functions such as sales, marketing, human resources and public relations have innovatively embedded these technologies to support their processes and became, as such, an instrument for renewal. The use of social media in project management, however, seems to be very limited. The profession lags behind having difficulty keeping pace with the rapidly evolving web 2.0 driven technological advances which, notably, are delivering on their promise to foster collaboration and communication.

In the meantime, todays’ projects are becoming ever more complex and dynamic (Kerzner, 2015). Their success rate may provide some cold comfort. Indeed, in a recent study, the Standish Group (2013) showed that the projects that are considered successful (i.e. delivered on time, on budget, with the required quality) are barely above the third of all projects: 39%; 43% were challenged (i.e. late, over budget, and/or with low quality); and 18% literally failed (i.e. cancelled or not used). The report highlights, markedly, that these numbers represent an uptick in the success rates in comparison to the year 2009 in which, 32% are delivered; 44 % had quality, deadline or cost problem and 24% failed. Despite the favorable slight increase in success, the project management landscape may still seem bleak. The discipline has not renewed itself in regards to the state-of-the-art advances in technology and information flow.

Information-based business models are now providing organizations with capabilities to respond rapidly to customers’ demands and to changing ecosystem conditions (Bharadwaj et al., 2013). Web 2.0 and social based technologies have reached the maturity stage and turned to be real Weapons of Mass “Collaboration” (McAfee, 2009). Mobile technologies, too, have become an integral part in organizational life (Nicol, 2013). Social media platforms have enhanced the quality and quantity of data generated and accelerated the pace of the information workflow (Bharadwaj et al., 2013). Furthermore, cloud computing is adding a new level of efficiency and economy to data and information management. Along with these advances, a new generation of young workers who have a great comfort using modern technologies are joining project teams. They are coming into the workforce with expectations that are different from those of their managers (Meier and Crocker, 2010).

It is, therefore, almost obvious that the traditional project management techniques are rendered ineffective for most of today’s projects (Levitt, 2011). Notwithstanding the contribution of ground-breaking works that led to tools that are widely used today such as Gantt, PERT and critical path. These tools, however, are many decades old and are merely suitable for the changing requirements of the 21st century business practices (Harrin, 2010). The challenge for today’s project manager is to go beyond using email, shared folders and repositories and to learn harnessing the power of social media within the project management practice. Social media gives a voice not only to the project manager but to all the stakeholders. It a connects people and can foster a better communication and collaboration. Social media  is not just another buzzword for project management. it is a venue that  offers a great opportunity for project managers to enhance their practice.  It is all an exciting area whose time has come.


 

  • Bharadwaj, A., El Sawy, O., Pavlou, P. & Venkatraman, N. 2013. Digital business strategy: Toward a next generation of insights. MIS Quarterly, 37, 471-482/.
  • Harrin, H. 2010. Social media for project managers, Project Management Institute.
  • Kerzner, R. 2015. Project management 2.0, Wiley.
  • Levitt, R. 2011. Towards project management 2.0. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 1-3.
  • Mcafee, A. 2009. Enterprise 2.0: New collaborative tools for your organization’s toughest challenges, harvard Business Press.
  • Meier, J. & Crocker, M. 2010. Generation y in the workforce: Managerial challenges. The Journal of Human Resource and Adult Learning, 6, 68-78.
  • Nicol, D. 2013. Mobile strategy: How your company can win by embracing mobile technologies, IBM Press.
  • The Standish Group 2013. Chaos manifesto 2013: Think big, act small.

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