3 Steps To Get Your Team Social

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People are suffering from the Project Manager‘s Social Dilemma.  (See Part 1 and Part 2 on Solving the PM’s Social Dilemma in previous posts).  This last week I started talking to people, both in and outside IBM, to understand if, and how, they are using Social Project Management and the issues around its adoption on their projects.  I was encouraged by the great interest in the topic but I was not surprised by the lack of actual practice going on.

I received solid validation from people for the three shifts that I have been talking about for adoption of a social way of working:

  • making project processes more transparent, open, and collaborative
  • leading the shift and challenging traditional work patterns and mind-sets, and
  • accepting that change takes time.

As I was compiling the feedback I got from PMs, Consultants, Marketeers and Social Evangelists, I started to see 3 clear steps to get teams into more of a social way of working :

Start Small

Consider using social technologies with your team to collaborate on proposals, share agendas, publish meeting minutes, share work products, or share task status. Just pick one or two things that you can move to an open platform like Connections until people are comfortable. Sometimes a limited rollout is the best way to allow others to start to see the benefits and help you strengthen your business case for further adoption. A grassroots attitude can be the main catalyst for adoption and sustained usage (Bughin, J. (2008). The Rise of Enterprise 2.0. Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice, pages 251-259).  (Note:  I want to thank Chris Cooper, IBM, for some great thoughts on this.)

Emphasize the Business Value

If you do not have buy-in from the team, it just won’t work.  Introducing the use of social media is more about business results than about the use of a new technology. Your people want to understand the business value of the proposition (why should I do this and what is in it for me?). If you want to ensure that the adoption of social media on your project is successful, you need to show the business value to your team. For example, one of the main things that people are telling me about using social media on their projects is that it saves them time. Time is money and saved money is value. The Team needs to understand how these technologies, and the use of collaboration, are going to enhance the ability for them to carry out their daily tasks quicker and with more support.

Because ensuring buy-in may require you to find new ways to speak and show the benefits of social media in the context of each person’s business results, using stories about the benefits that other projects have achieved is an excellent way to get there.

COLLAB WORDLEEmbrace Collaboration

Traditional project management tools may no longer work in a collaborative environment. You need to be ready to challenge the old way of doing things.  Collaboration requires an open and transparent forum with user-generated content.  Bill Kirst, of IBM, called it ‘working out loud.’  In this new social team environment every team member is expected to participate and find their digital voice.  Each team player becomes more autonomous and more engaged in the conversation of the project. “We develop a sense of “knowing” amongst the project team, and we can focus more of our time on getting the work done, and less time performing work about work.” (The Project Wall, Social Project Management – Narrating the project as it happens.By embracing project collaboration, you can not only optimize the power of your team, but you can extend it exponentially through the knowledge network of the enterprise.

Tell me your adoption stories?  What are you doing to transform the way you work?

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Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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

2 thoughts on “3 Steps To Get Your Team Social

  1. Great insights, Lorian. I’ve started a blog and regularly post status updates to my profile on the internal social network at my company – stuff related to my job and the work I am doing. By sharing what I am doing and discovering with others, I’m finding people I need and want to know and learning more about activities and projects related to my work.

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