Social project management was developed as an alternative method of project organisation and project management. At its simplest, social project management is an ongoing response triggered by the shift to digital workplaces, virtual teams, and the mindset created by the rise of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. There is a significant loss of value in terms of communication among distributed teams functioning in a digital workplace, as team members lack proximity to each other and easy methods of fast face-to-face communication.
This has resulted in the notion of social project management, which has a core philosophy revolving around the need to maximise continuous and open communication within the digital workplace, on both an internal (team) and external (customer) level. Due to the digital nature of social project management and the fact it usually develops in response to new organisational structures depending on technologically mediated forms of communication, social project management strategies are usually enabled through the use of collaborative forms of software that have been inspired by the ongoing social media trend.
The social paradigm allows project-related work to be shared, published and publicised through an integrated social network within an organisation. Social project management is a powerful fusion of the best elements of traditional project management and our increasingly prolific culture of digital collaboration and communication.
Key concepts of social project management
Social project management was developed as a subset of social business software. It’s a powerful business performance solution, with a team focus that effectively manages the expectation of staff, stakeholders and clients. Due to its basis in social business software, it bears some strong similarities to software that has been generally designed for business purposes, however, it is distinct from other forms of business software in that it focuses on three key elements where functionality is concerned:
Social project management software can easily be embedded into larger organisations’ social networks. One of the core goals that this software realises is the need for collaboration systems that are project based. Social project management tools, however, are frequently adopted on a project level, rather than an enterprise level. The result of this is the development of situations in which team members who are working on several different projects are using multiple collaboration tools, and are having to switch back and forth depending on which project they are currently working on. The fragmented nature of this method of working means that there is little visibility for anyone outside a project team.
The social project management philosophy focuses on integrating project teams into the whole, and ensuring that all the required information, unique skills, and relevant knowledge are cohesively accessible from the organisation itself. This is why social project management software needs integrating into an organisation’s collaborative platform so that projects can proceed without limits and boundaries.
The organisation of social project management software ensures the focus is always on formal project schedules, with all collaborative functions and activities linked directly to a core schedule. Modern social project management software provides excellent organisation capabilities for your business’s whole team, ensuring enterprise-level organisation of both individual projects and a wider view of your whole business. This ingenious software fully embraces the vision of a seamless system of online collaboration and organisation and a set of techniques and tools for project management.
Ambient activity awareness
Social project management software is an excellent means of providing your team, as well as your company stakeholders, with up-to-date activity streams, building activity awareness and easy access to status updates. This is what puts the ‘social’ in social project management. Ambient awareness is a concept that enables teams who are distributed to easily build an unprecedented level of awareness. Activity stream paradigms ensure even the largest distributed teams have access to constantly updated streams of information relating to their various projects. In the past, that level of continuous communication could potentially lead to an overload of information, however the ‘bite size’ nature of information streams in social management software ensures workers are always effectively aligned without enduring overload.
The social project management shift
Business operations are increasingly complex and dealing with multiple projects can create complex business relationships. Employees can find themselves collaborating on one project and competing in another, all the while only sharing resources when it’s necessary. More than this, individuals often function in different roles from project to project. The process of managing multiple projects across business operations consequently requires a holistic approach. The upshot of this is that two of the classic approaches to project management have been rendered obsolete:
– Single project management – focusing purely on technological results.
– Single project portfolio management – focusing on the project results for companies individually.
These views were limiting project management in ways that can now be replaced using social project management, augmented by the proper software support, which is enabling businesses to integrate project management with their social networking solutions.
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