Last summer I started reading “Social Media for Project Managers”, from Elizabeth Harrin. There were many concepts I already knew and some tools I was already using but the book gave me some ideas to use those tools for new purposes. One of them was using a Blog as a part of the PMIS (Project Management Information System) as a project log.
How we use a blog in our project
We started using a blog in a software development project I am managing. The team is young and they are used to these kind of tools so it was not difficult to convince them to start blogging everyday their project activities.
As we all are not working at the same office and also some team members have different working hours, we thought that this tool would help us with its universal accessibility (well, in fact we have limited the access to the blog to the project stakeholders).
These have been the results
After some months of work we have:
- A project log, explaining what we have done and why we have done it that way. A knowledge repository.
- A tool useful to train new team members is they are needed in the future.
- A tool to collaborate. We can receive feedback from the community of project stakeholders through their comments at the blog posts.
- A tool to build relationships between the team members, as not all of them are collocated.
Some difficulties and risks
But not everything has been easy. We have had establish some ground rules about what to post and how. As every stakeholder may read a post it is not easy to decide the kind of information to include as not all of them have the same needs.
There are some posts that are for internal use (just for the team members), some others are for everybody involved in the project and we are working now in the weekly project status reports, for the project sponsor and the final product users.
As everybody can read every post, the tool we use to filter are tags. If you want to read a project status report you must look for “status” tags in the blog. When a team member looks for some information about the data base he must use some of the tags we have previously agreed to use for these issues, and so on.
What’s your opinion?
What about you, are you using any social media tool to support your projects? What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced to deploy it? What have been the benefits for the project? Any negative result?