What Project Managers Should Know About Social Networking

I’m currently finishing up an article for Reference & User Services Quarterly about Technoplanning in a Shiny, Social World. This post speaks to many of my thoughts about project managament in libraries with social tools:


Tools and expectations regarding the manner in which people in organizations communicate and collaborate are changing. I have to some extent addressed these issues in my “project management and blogging” research and consulting. The implications are broader than just blogging. While different groups and industries are accepting social media and social networking at very different rates, many organizations are also beginning to address how to adopt and manage social media and social networking. Such organizations are not limited to traditional tech-oriented and early adopter type firms.


Those of us who have managed large projects know how important it is to carefully manage all project stakeholders, not just those directly assigned to the project full time. This is where social networking and collaboration tools can play a role, but the manner in which they impact both formal and informal communications needs to be considered. For example, there are certain top-down communications that need to be addressed to all or subsets of project staff. At the same time project team members will need — and want — to communicate with each other and with non-project staff on both project- and non-project-related matters.

So far this situation is pretty standard. One thing that makes the new tools different (e.g., enterprise-secure blogging and wikis, collaboration tools with workflow and group collaboration features, group chat and messaging, document sharing, bookmark and link sharing tools, etc.) is that they are now so easy to set up, manage, and use. Project specific business processes, workspaces, and directories that previously required IT department involvement can now be established and maintained by less technically proficient staff. Many of these staff may already be familiar with the increasingly powerful networking and knowledge sharing tools that are available on the public web and may, as a result, express impatience with the tools the enterprise makes available “behind the firewall.”

Read the whole post – it’s insightful and speaks volumes about how we might manage our own projects in libraries – and how IT is no longer the sole controller of what workgroups can do online.