Social Media And Project Management (tutorial)

April 12, 2016

We can have our kick ass systems, goals all S.M.A.R.T and milestones set but all this won’t be much if we don’t focus on our project people.  We can do this using social media.

People Make Projects Successful

And collaboration, engagement and communication is essential to any project’s success. Good PM tools such as Asana, BaseCamp, Workflowmax and Proworkflow go some way towards this but think about it, everyone is social. Adding social network(s) to your project management mix add an element not present otherwise. People are comfortable and familiar with these tools, they are free and, particularly with virtual teams, can create that team functionality not always present via email and phone conferences.

The Benefits to Using Social Media for your Projects

I could bore you to tears with all the benefits to using social media for your projects, but I won’t (I know you’re busy!). The main benefits that come to mind are:

  • Location friendly: bringing team members from various locations together in one space.
  • Time and cost efficiencies: a post in a Facebook group is a lot less intrusive than emails with multiple people cc’d in.
  • Mobile: information shared socially can be accessed anywhere, any time, on any device.
  • Personal: ‘non-work’ social media banters can help improve the morale of your project people, and increase productivity.

Criteria

Decide how you will use social networks and communicate criteria for this. For example:

  • Which information is not to be shared publicly?
  • What are the relevant links to groups or communities?
  • How often are meet-ups and is there a project calendar?
  • Are hashtags to be used and if so is there a naming convention the company uses for hashtags.

Ways to use Social Media 

LinkedIn and Facebook Groups: Create a closed or private group and invite all project stakeholders and team members to the group. Which network you use will depend on your team but both have the option to share files, links and images. Both have the ability to create conversations (and thus enhance collaboration) and both allow you to post milestones and appropriate information from your company pages. All of which can help with the momentum of your project.

Company Pages: We touched on this above but another great way to utilize your pages is to post project successes, team member wins and personal contributions. While these actions add value to your project they have the added benefit of showing your connections, prospects and clients what your working on … and how your company celebrates success.

Hashtags: To make communication even easier, you can create and use hashtags across social networks (Google +, Facebook, LinkedIn and especially Twitter), to direct or redirect an employee(s) to an article, post, video or piece of communication you want them to see. Another benefit to using hashtags is this makes it easy for your team to search for communication and conversations about your projects.

Lists: All networks have the ability to create lists, groups, circles or tags so you can track of your team … and communicate with them either individually or as a group, quickly and easily.

Meet-ups: You can’t beat live, group conversations and when it’s not possible to meet up in the boardroom hangouts, chats and group events involved in a live meeting without being physically present. With it’s instant messaging platforms and video-sharing technology, you can join any live meeting from anywhere in the world.

Something not talked about or recognized as much is the resource available to you (and thus, your project) on social media. The networks are absolutely loaded with people, articles, tools and information all of which can add value and solve hurdles you have with your projects. I have met an amazing amount of people generous with their time and advice … there is honestly no reason at all the words ‘no’ or ‘we can’t’ be used in relation to your project.

Scenario

You’re a business coach about to release a new programme.  You don’t use project management software but you have your team working on the programme and its release and need to have a central point of collaboration and organisation.

  1. Document your goals, milestones and the strategy to achieve these (and email me if you’d like a template to use for this).
  2. Set up a private Facebook group for the project.  Invite your team to the group.
  3. Schedule your milestones as updates within the group.
  4. Schedule actions as updates and tag appropriate team members.
  5. Schedule meet-ups as updates and again, tag appropriate members.
  6. Add any files or resources to the group.
  7. Pin to the top of the group criteria for engagement and communication.  Include any hashtags you’ll be using.
  8. Post updates from your company pages and Twitter account, let your network know how the project is proceeding (in terms of how the project benefits them).  Celebrate wins and acknowledge team contributions.

The above is a very basic scenario and can be as simple or as complex as it needs to be.  Used in conjunction with project management tools the scenario shows how using social media for your project management compliments your other processes.  With the end goal being a successful project and happy, engaged team (and connections).

Your turn. How have you used social media to bring out the best of people for your projects?

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