Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 1

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Correct me if you disagree, but I think that people like me, that are responsible for the overall delivery of a project or program or portfolio: Project Managers, Program Managers, Project Executives, Engineers, Delivery Consultants (what ever the title), responsible for delivering on the stuff that our companies sell, are so busy DOING, that we don’t have time to breathe, no less to be social.  At least that is what I thought. I didn’t want to be on this computer one more minute after my already endless work day.  I figured that to be social meant added hours on the computer on top of my existing project load.  I am here to tell you it doesn’t.

I was chatting online with my friend/colleague Chrys last night (at about 10:30 PM – because who has time for a social chat before then?), doing my usual advocacy and coaching to get people to harness their social influence, when she said ‘I really would love to do more in the social space but, as you can see, it is late and I am still working on this really demanding project.  I just don’t have the time.”

That is when it dawn on me that we have a PROJECT MANAGER’S SOCIAL DILEMMA.  How do you find the time to start using social media, when you are exhausted, and you don’t really see how it is going to help you deliver the goods at the end of the day?

I think that delivery people, more and more, are starting to understand that there is something ‘hot’ going on called ‘social business,’  but project leaders are so busy working, that they are do not seeing how they fit in it, and how they fit it in.

How To Solve the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma

After much research, and 30+ years of personal experience, I realized that if I did not make the shift from traditional project communications methodologies and out dated team communications strategies, I was going to fall behind in the increasingly networked society of 2013.  But I just could not figure out where I was going to get the extra hours in the day (see my blog on finding the 25th hour).

The answer was to swap how I did things, so as not to add more tasks, requiring more time, but to actually streamline my communications, on my projects, with my teams, and ultimately, gain time to focus on more productive tasks, and of course, on my own social presence. It isn’t in addition to my job, it is my job.

First, I needed to accept that my business/management processes must be more collaborative, innovative, and open.  Which made perfect sense for management of my geographical disbursed, virtual teams, and brought me inline with the organization strategy that was leveraging social platforms in all lines of business.

Secondarily, I needed to accept that the change I needed to make was less about the tools that I used to manage my projects and more about the mind-set of open knowledge sharing, collaboration, and communications, both in and outside my teams.  Sometimes I think I get stuck in the tools I know (email for example) because, like most PMs, I use what I know works, versus leaping into a more collaborative conversation like with IBM Connections.  I wish I could be more like Luis Suarez, who is successfully living and working without email.  But alas, this takes time.

So, thirdly, I needed to accept the fact that adoption takes time (I am not very good at waiting), but that once I got used to this new paradigm, I would not only have more time in my day, but a new ambient awareness of my project and team, similar to the days of collocation, and with the added benefit of  integration through social networking with my total enterprise.

These three social shifts in how I manage my projects and my teams: make my project processes more collaborative, shift my mind-set to allow for wider communications, and accept that change does not happen over night, are a solid start toward solving my Project Manager’s Social Dilemma.

Do you have a Social Dilemma?

Are you trying to figure out what to swap, to get more time, or how to get your team on board with social media?

Part 2 will focus on Making The Shift To Social.  Make sure to come back now.

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)

3 thoughts on “Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 2 | Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

  2. Pingback: 3 Steps To Get Your Team Social | Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

  3. Pingback: Doing Project Management, Socially | Digital Attitude: Becoming Eminent

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