Doing Project Management, Socially


At some point, everybody is a project manager.

From planning a birthday party for a 3 year old to delivering a complex application for a banking client, the way you get the tasks done is called project management.  But just because humans are social, that does not make the application of project management to your tasks – Social Project Management.  It is clear that few people know what Social Project Management is yet or how to use it.

The other day I found a perfect example of the misuse of the term Social Project Management. While doing my daily internet reading I stumbled on an article called Social Project Management: A Necessary Element for Success. It was about managing a social media strategy by using project management (which is a great idea). They were applying traditional project management to a project whose product was a social media strategy.  That is not Social Project Management but project management of something with content, that just happens to be about something social .  Obviously, when a concept is very new, it can easily be misunderstood.

As business moves more and more into the social spaces, and with downsizing, rightsizing, the push to a ‘results only work environment [1]‘ and the advent of ubiquitous computing power in the hands of all employees, people are becoming what I call ‘accidental project managers.’  It is not their job title, or even something they knowingly pursue, but employees are personally managing a broader range of tasks in their work assignments and the flow of the information they use and create now sits in their hands more than ever before.  Team sizes are shrinking and practitioner work load is increasing and each person is taking on the responsibility for self-directed delivery.  Everyone is doing mini-projects and becoming an accidental project manager.

Not that accidental project management is bad at all, I think it is perfect for adoption of Social Project Management.  In response to the shift in business priorities and organizational transformations, project management has been becoming more agile over the last few years, and it should.  By leveraging the good work being done in social design, a few early adopters are starting to break down the silos, streamline collaboration, and drive transparency into the dynamism that characterizes a project. [2]  This is enabling collaborative productivity across small teams, empowering small-scale projects to leverage the transparency of social media, keeping  everyone up-to-date and engaged.

projectclipBig projects, complex and multinational programs, program management offices (PMO) and large-scale operations may always need the more traditional PM methods and the dedicated delivery professional.  There is a long history of solid governance and successful practice in strong project management methods.  But traditional ways of doing project management are not very social. Today’s social tools allow us to break away form the traditional methods of delivering projects and incorporating new, more collaborative ones. Do you remember the infographic on The 5 Laws of Social Project Management. I showed you in my post, Solving the Project Manager’s Dilemma – Part 2?  I agree withLiquidPlanner‘s rules that collaboration, team participation benefits, transparency, personal autonomy, and realistic scheduling, will allow for new thinking when it comes to getting the job done. (Note: this is not a pitch for their software one way or the other, since I have not used it, but I like some of their ideas.)

The new self-directed and open social project team (made up of Millennials, GenXers, and maybe some of us dinosaurs (me)), is hungry for a social way to collectively participate on their projects and in the success of the business.  When you give people a deeper understanding of the process in which they are involved, a greater appreciation of the context in which they work (and make them part of creating it), and the opportunity to be directly engaged with the outcome, they will be more productive and more motivated.  All that, from a little socialization.

I am transforming my teams every day to work socially. Are you?  Tell me what changes you are making with your teams to go social.


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian




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


  1. Results-Only Work Environment is a management strategy where employees are evaluated on performance, not presence. In a ROWE, people focus on results and only results – increasing the organization’s performance while creating the right climate for people to manage all the demands in their lives . . . including work.
  2. Accelerate the Flow of Work with Social Project Management, CIO White Paper by VMWare

Grow Your Digital Reputation – 5 Ways

community sketchI’m a social butterfly and like most people, I prefer to participate in groups with other people who hold similar interests to me.  It gives me a sense of trust when I interact with people and groups with common values and beliefs to my own (Meyers, 2011). I find comfort with ‘like minded’ individuals, and obviously, I am not alone in this feeling since, one of the main motivators for people to use social media in the first place, is their desire for community.  Social Media allows us to be a part of community, not dictated by space or location, and it also comes with a sense of family and unity  (Mueller, 2010).

This social connectivity, this common ground, can help you build a strong digital reputation. Just as you are attracted to people and communities that you have something in common with, people will be attracted to what you have to say in return.  You just need to be genuine and authentic in your digital communications.

According to Dorie Clark, one of my favorite Branding gurus, there are 3 main ways to get noticed by other people when building your reputation online:

  1. through the content you create,
  2. by social proof provided by others, and
  3. by having someone recommend you directly.

Based on the first 2 ways above to get noticed, I have put together 5 suggestions on how you can grow your digital reputation.  The third way, having someone recommend you directly, speaks more to your physical network than you virtual one, but if you are getting them to recommend your social presence loudly, at let’s say a cocktail party or business conference, by all means, you should be using that tactic as well.

1. Promote Yourself and Your Ideas on Facebook

Facebook is, hands down, the largest social network being used today.  It is not just for your kids and connecting with your high school buddies anymore.  Many people have set up professional profiles that highlight their knowledge and expertise.  For example, check out Chocolate for Breakfast. This is the business page for Sue Ann Gleason, a culinary nutritionist and marketing strategist.  This page has over 19,845 Likes, which translates into fans following it, with outstanding engagement in the Facebook world (over 60% of the fans are talking about the page according to the Social Media Examiner).  It uses photos really well, has inspiring posts (particularly the recipes),and is entertaining and educational.


Personally, I have a page on Facebook ( DogDaz ) that I use to connect with my followers that prefer that social network and to promote my PetBlog,   The goal is to connect with other animal lovers, promote animal rescue and remind my Facebook followers to read today’s blog posts.  This has worked great in the last year and I have over 40,000 hits on the blog (which is huge for me).

dogdaz fbWhat you will find is that people will start recommending your content to other people, who will recommend it to other people, and building your reputation.  In the Facebook world, the number of people (FANS) that LIKE your page, the higher the rating and stronger your reputation.  These ratings act as SOCIAL PROOF that your page (you) has value.  If someone agrees (thumbs up) that what you are saying, or selling, or doing, has value, that social proof leads others to see greater value in your stuff.  Dorie Clark says that “basically, [social proof] means that people look to others around them to judge the value of something. (If a book has 1,000 five-star Amazon reviews, it must be good.)”  Can you see how you might leverage this to help build your reputation?

2. Connect to Other Professionals with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is definitely ‘the place’ to connect to people professionally.  Just like with Facebook you set up a profile, but the power of LinkedIn comes through your participation in groups that interest you.  This is where you show your smarts.  You build a following on LinkedIn by following other people and groups, and commenting on their ideas, or in forums, with your ideas.  This gets your name out there.  As you comment, you build your credibility as an expert in a particular area, and your reputation increase.

3. Write a Blog

Though blogging is not for everyone, blogs are a great way to let the world know what you are thinking on a particular subject and why you are an expert. It takes time to build an audience, but if your posts are on interesting topics and you take the time to research and write clearly, the benefits to your digital presence is worth it.  I use this blog ( as a way to pull all my thoughts together about digital eminence, personal branding, and social project management, and then I link my posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and IBM Connections, to make sure that those people who are following me on different platforms, know what I am thinking today.  (Don’t be overwhelmed by the media connections, you can manage the feeds with tools like HootSuite or feedly – but that is for another blog post.)

4. Comment on Other People’s Posts and in Relevant Communities

Being helpful and answering questions in forums and communities is a great way to get known.  This may sound like a tease, but you can give just enough information in your answer and then encourage people to contact you through your email, blog, website or other links, so that you start to build a direct relationship.  The more you put yourself out in front, the more digitally social you are, the more will come back to you.  Trust me – it works (your reading my blog, aren’t you?).

5.  Be a Regular On Your Social Media Sites

If you are going to use any of these suggestions to build your digital reputation, do them consistently.  I hate when I come upon communities, groups, forums, and blog sites that are woefully outdated.  If you are going to have a presence in social media, you need to post regularly or it does you little good.  People will lose interest in your posts if your site, or blog, or Twitter feed is outdated.  You don’t need to post everyday, 2 or 3 times a week is fine, but you should be doing it regularly.


The internet provides the ability to grow your reputation exponentially,  And, based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation (or the Small World theory) “millions of people are connected by just a few short steps.” (Lovgren, 2010)  So what are you waiting for? How are you leveraging your connections?

Tell me what you are doing to grow your reputation?


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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


3 Steps To Get Your Team Social


Image Courtesy of

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?


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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

Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 2

In Solving the Project Manager‘s Social Dilemma – Part 1, I talked about three shifts that I was making to solve the problem that many of us delivery people have of being so busy DOING, that there is no time to embrace social media.  I accepted that I had to change some of my business/management processes, especially as it related to collaboration and knowledge sharing, that I had to be open to new ways of communicating with my team and my stakeholders, and, finally, that I needed to accept that change takes time.

Making The Shift To Social

social-media11.  Be Business Social.  Think of your use of social media not as an extra task in your project,  but as a way to empower your team and get your work done in a more collaborative and integrated way.

Think how efficient you would be if you had an up-to-date stream of information regarding your project (or client situation); keeping you informed and aligned with your team in real-time.  Could you be a better manager if you knew your project status daily: including what was done today, what tasks were behind, and what the issues and  risks were? Think of the time you would save if problems were fixed while you were sleeping. How expedient it would be to wake up to suggestions from experts, maybe in your company maybe outside, solving a tricky issue that has been stumping the team for days. This is what can happen when you work collaboratively and in the open.  This is working social. And, this is the basis of Social Project Management.

Different than the concept called, PROJECT MANAGEMENT 2.0 (which focuses on the collaboration of the project team among themselves using social media), SOCIAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT sees teams as part of a larger organization (enterprise), and through leveraging the collective intelligence of the organization, the limitations of the project team are removed, and the collective knowledge of the organization comes to bear on solutions. (See the Infographic at the bottom of this post for the 5 Laws of Social Project Management.)

The benefit to me of using Social Project Management is more time to focus on priorities, more up-to-date project status, and a supportive and integrated use of the collective knowledge of my company to solve problems.

I am not advocating getting rid of good project management principles, on the contrary, things like strong scheduling and time management techniques are still critical, but open communications, can reduce significant meeting and status reporting time, can showcase issues and focus on resolutions with the power of the collective enterprise behind you, and can bring to a project team, an awareness, and engagement, that has been lacking since the days of collocation.

The benefit of social communications for your projects comes from what social scientists call “ambient awareness.‘   When you, and your team, are getting constant communication feeds (ambient updates) of short status messages, like you see on Tweeter or Facebook, you are able to quickly assess the important information, throw out the not important, and rather than overload your brain (as many of us fear), it is actually creating greater understanding of subject matter.  And, unlike email, you don’t have to open or respond to anything.

Social Business software creates context specific ambient awareness, which because of the broad set of information provided to the team makes the work visible in “surprisingly sophisticated” ways.” (New York Times, Brave New World of Digital Intimacy).  You can look down a full-page of little status’, and read some, and skip others.  In a short time of actively reading your project stream, you could not only have a very comprehensive idea of what is going on, but you have the ability for real-time active participation by others, solving business issues on the fly.”

Think about all the time you could save if you could have fewer status meetings?  If your teams were keeping you updated as things happened?  Teams are reporting great efficiencies through leveraging micro-blogging status updates on mediums like Twitter or IBM Connections. “We need far fewer status reporting sessions, because everyone is being made aware of things as they happen. 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.)

Social Business is simply about doing business in a different way.  I think it is critical that project leaders start adapting the good stuff that we are learning from social business and create a best of bread for ourselves.  I know I am.     .

2.  Be Personally Social.  Once you have started becoming social every day on your projects, adding an insightful comment or two on your personal status (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn), or commenting on someone’s post from your own expertise, will become second nature; you will already be online, communicating, and being social.  You digital eminence will rise from there.

To solve the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – take the leap and start moving your team and your projects into the future with social communications.


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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


Solving the Project Manager’s Social Dilemma – Part 1


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.


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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

4 Steps To Decide What Social Network To Join

Today’s Digital Attitude Adjustment is focusing on building connections: connections to other humans via the internet.  Social connections are the currency by which you build your social reputation and ultimately, your digital eminence.  Out here in cyberspace, communication takes place in the form of written words, pictures, and videos.  These are your digital footprints, the path to you.


Building your online reputation all boils down to connecting with others.

No others = No reputation = No eminence.

What that means is you need to join and participate in at least one social network.

A common question I get asked is “What social network should I join?” and “Which social network would be right for me?”  I know it can be confusing so here are some thoughts to help guide you.

2973684461_8ecfb1dd10_zChart Credit Laurel Papworth  and Gary Hayes

* INVOLVE – listen to, live the social web, understand it, this cannot be faked
* CREATE – make relevant content for communities of interest
* DISCUSS – no conversation around it, then the content may as well not exist
* PROMOTE – actively, respectfully, promote the content with the networks
* MEASURE – monitor, iteratively develop and respond or be damned!

1.   Figure out who you want to connect with. (If you are a business, who is your audience?)

Ask what social media venues others in your organization or profession are using?  Different venues are good for different connections.  The leaders are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.  They serve different purposes for different people, but, if I was starting today, I would join Facebook for personal and LinkedIn for business. Twitter is really good too, but not everyone was born to Tweet.

I think my personal history kind of parallels the growth of social media, so here is a little flash back.

I started my journey into social networks back in the 1970’s with Usernets and Bulletin Board Services (BBS).  They allowed me to chat with others through online forums. The conversations were not interactive, like we have today, but they were revolutionary for the time. 

In the 1980’s I moved to online services, CompuServe, Prodigy, and then America On Line (AOL).  At that time I also was starting to use Internet Relay Chat (IRC & IRQ)) services which developed into Instant Messaging. 

Then in 1997 I discovered a service called “Six Degrees.”  This was the first site that I can remember that actually let me have a profile. 

I think it took several years (or maybe I was busy working and raising a family) but about 2005 I joined a new venture called  MySpace (it was big for it’s time, but I would not bother with it today);

In 2006, I moved to Facebook (where I still play with my family and friends everyday, sharing status updates and pictures);

I joined Twitter when it was an egg (2007 or 08), but I am only just starting to Tweet on a daily basis (and watch all the knowledge that flashes by every moment of every minute of every hour – thanks to my new very social friend at Kenexa (an IBM company), Bruce Kneuer, Social Media Manager).

I have been a member of  LinkedIn since 2009, but , like many people, I thought it was only for job hunting, which is not true anymore, so I am using it much more (a shout out to Social IBMer Ben Martin, who has some great blog posts to help you use LinkedIn).

I started my pet blog,DogDaz, on Tumblr in 2010, but moved it to DogDaz on WordPress in 2011, which is a better platform for it.  I still do Tumblr but only go on to reblog the great pictures that people post.  

I ‘pin’ sometimes on Pinterest, but mostly I watch what my kids have on their boards.

I belong to several groups in LinkedIn, as well as other communities of practice I belong to, but am getting ready to pare down because I have to many.

 I am also active within my company, IBM, on our internal social space called Connections.

This of course is separate from all the email spaces that I use for the blogs, personal, and business (AOL, gmail, and Lotus Notes).  Oh Yeah, I do have a Google+ account but have not had the time to research it’s value for me yet. 

I tell you all this because, different venues serve different purposes. Now you are probably really confused, so read step 2 below.

2.  Do your research and experiment.

I joined different networks over the years, but only one at a time.  This way I could observe and listen for a while to see how the network worked, what was being discussed, and where I might want  to put my few precious comments.  If you do your homework in Step 1 above (What are other people you know using? What is your professional organization or business group communicating on?), you may get your answer quickly.  Like I said, the winners today usually are LinkedIn and Twitter if you want business like connections.

3.  Set goals and manage your time.

Social media can suck up all your time if you let it, so be clear about why you are using it and how much time you have to devote to the activity every day.  A timer really does work, so get one!  Twitter and Facebook demand more time to be active on than LinkedIn or Pinterest.  Be real with yourself about the time you will have to devote to the medium.

4.  Don’t spread yourself too thin.

You really have to prioritize what you are doing.  You do not need to be on every social network, and you do not have to use them every day.  It is better to be on only one social network and have good participation, then to be overwhelmed and not participate at all.

The only way you build your social reputation is by connecting through social networks. If you are not connected, you need to remedy that right now!   Without virtual connections, you basically are talking to yourself.  Sharing information without connecting is meaningless.


For a great exercise in connectivity and human relationship building check out “Leading With Intention,” a blog by Vicki Flaherty, a fellow IBMer..


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian

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

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Living Social Doesn’t Make You Eminent

After so many years of living my life in the world of bleeding edge technologies, online networks, social communities, blogs, wikis, web sites and other elements of digital business, I was surprised today to be told that my Digital Eminence is weak and almost non-existent.  I realized that for so many years I have been busy living IN the social, that I neglected the actual care and feeding of my ‘social eminence.’

At first, I was miffed.  “Me?” I thought. Are they talking about the person who held one of the first IBM Holiday parties in Second Life (though my boss fell off the flying carpet and never did reappear until after New Years)?  “Me?” The colleague who organized a international virtual baby shower complete with games for all on line and physical presents at the expectant’s home (because teams were becoming so geographically disbursed and I knew that being together was going to need to be different)?  They couldn’t have missed the fact that I was one of the first people to move classroom material to e-learning, for wider reach and higher consumption?  Alas, they did, because, while I was so busy doing, I was not making sure that my work left a digital footprint.

Networking has always been important to build your eminence, but, in these digital times, documenting yourself electronically, through membership in social networks, virtual communities, writing blogs, publishing e-books, commenting on others forums, etc, builds a picture which is now highly prized.  Unlike a resume, which is a flat recitation of experiences, your digital footprint is dynamic.

I learned a valuable lesson today. Living social does not make you digitally eminent unless you tag your work in such a way that others can see you in it.

So how did you make your digital mark today?

digitalattitudeanimation    See you in the Cloud – Lorian