March 2, 2012

Social Project Management

Projects need management. Projects also need the project team to collaborate - communicate, share and version documents, discuss issues, share information, mutually track assignments and their progress, identify optimal meeting times, hold online meetings etc.
Social project management brings the concept of social networks to project management. And as you would imagine there are online tools supporting this two concepts.
Perhaps you've already heard of or used online collaboration and project management tools - personally I've been implementing ProjectPlace and CoMindWork for collaboration in various different projects and in different organisational settings - either internal or with up to 70 partner organizations across Europe (EPAAC Joint Action, PARENT Joint Action). ProjectPlace has recently published an article in International Innovation on the topic of Social Project Management including some of my thoughts on importance of online collaboration and experience with their tool. International Innovation is a global dissemination resource for the wider scientific, technology and research communities. To read the whole article, see the issue - scroll to pages 96 and 97.
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Our experts form part of several cross-European virtual teams, analysing data, preparing policies, strategies, etc. Reliable and cost efficient communication channels, collaborative work on documents, and transparent reporting are key for these teams to work in an efficient and effective manner, thus ensuring success of research projects. When preparing a Joint Action proposal in spring 2011, both NIPHRS as proposal coordinator and 17 partners from 16 member states faced a short time window to agree on the proposal content, timings, responsibilities and finance. Use of classic communication channels (e-mail and telephone) would hamper the timely preparation of the proposal. We were happy to have in place online solutions (Projectplace) to work collaboratively in a structured and transparent way that enabled us to catch the deadline while maximising the quality of proposal.

In our field of work (eHealth, Public Health), interdisciplinary collaboration as well as collaboration between stakeholders and organizations across Member States is of vital importance in pursuing our goals. I feel strongly that social media present an opportunity to enable faster and easier sharing of information and increase the ease and transparency of the collaboration process. However, as we still observe lack of adoption of social media in certain environments, we need to invest more time to educating and demonstrating value.
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What is your opinion on social project management? Are you already using it in your organisation and in what scenarios? I would love to hear about your experience.

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