Free PDU’s @ International Project Management Day

I just got back from a great meeting with International Institute for Learning in New York City.  They are a global leader in training, coaching and customized course development.  On November 7, 2013 they will be holding a free full day event for INTERNATIONAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT DAY.


Register for free  (how easy is that!!!!)

You can earn free PDU’s if you are a PMI PMP –  but more importantly, there is an impressive group of really good speakers and sessions.

animationfinalSee you there.

– Lorian





OMG!! You Want Me to Open What?

Oh My Goodness!  Many Project Managers are cringing when I talk about their teams being more open and transparent and leveraging social technologies. Has everything we know about project communications changed?  I think I finally understand why they worry, but let me assure you, a good communications strategy is still a key to project success, you just need to tweak it a little.


I know that it may feel like trying to manage projects with transparent and open communications is the antithesis of everything that we were ever taught as project managers about communications.  Being open just feels risky (kind of like buying something off of Craig’s List and meeting the person in an abandon building).

The principles of social collaboration seem to challenge all the conventional ideas that we have as PMs for project communications. Traditional guidance on project communications tells us that one of it’s main principles, is identifying what information is to be shared, when it should be distributed, to whom, and how it should be prepared.  How do you control communications in the open?

Yes, social collaboration means that the team, and maybe even the client, might have access to the non-confidential information about the project that is being worked on.  But, there is a tremendous benefit to working project details out in the open.  This allows the team to participate, collaborate, and react in a just-in-time way.  As PMs we need to embrace the fast-moving business environment that we work in, harness the reality of the current technologies we deploy, and leverage the globalization of our project teams.

What Transparency Means

Our communications job as Project Leaders is to ensure the team and the stakeholders have current information (status) on what, where, and when.  Being transparent, in the project context, means having an open and honest dialogue on the current state of your project.  Many projects run behind and even fail, because teams don’t want to tell each other, or the customer, the truth about scope creep, schedule slippage, resource challenges.  But, that is the reality of the project and once the team can embrace being real, all the time, in real-time, magic happens.  Being transparent is not about getting positive or negative feedback on an item, it is about disseminating information quickly so that all players can digest it, discuss it,  and react to it.  Some examples of transparent communications are:
communications 2

  • Open planning sessions to discussion and gather new ideas
  • Show milestones so everyone knows where you are going and can comment on their parts
  • Open discussions about issues; ask the team to comment regardless of if they are part of that subteam or not (solutions come from many places)
  • Show schedule and dependencies and let others own their commitments instead of being bottle necked by the PMs weekly status round-up.
  • Open your status meetings and let the extended team comment. Status now becomes ubiquitous.  There is no longer a need for lengthy status reports because it is up-to-date all the time. (Gee, I love this as a PM because it sure makes my reporting easier.)

Business today is very agile and the old top-down communications models don’t always work anymore.  The new social technologies allow teams to provide a continuous loop of feedback and ideas at the speed never before possible.  This transparent feedback loop can help a project manager, or the executives of a company,  make quicker course corrections, which means better response time to customer requirements or industry changes.

Recently, I was moderating the webcast of a global panel on Social Project Management (with 4 speakers and over 700 participants) for IBM. With only 4 weeks to put it together, all the planning, scheduling details, resource needs, were coordinated through a Lotus Connections Community.  Everyone knew what was going on, what was needed, who needed what, when, and even, how we did after the event.  Though the panelists sat in different countries throughout the world, that caused no problems because everyone checked in and chimed it, at their convenience. Issues were handled immediately (like people dropping out, or equipment not arriving).  And, except for one conference call before the event (yes, I still hang on to some old school needs like making sure people are not robots – LOL), everything was discussed, resolved, and documented in our open space.  We had a 98% participation satisfaction rating.  I know this wasn’t a big project example, but I wanted to give you a flavor of how it works.

Just try it on a small subproject first.  Let me know how it goes.


Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.

– Lorian





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

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

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)

Attitude Adjmt Plan #1 – Defining Personal Brand

I am a Project Manager (PM) by profession, and as a PM, I like to make plans and work those plans to completion.  For me it is critical to have a plan, especially when you are working with something as big as crafting your digital eminence (it sounds like a big job to me).  I also find that having a plan with distinct milestones helps me keep to the task at hand, otherwise I could get overwhelmed by the whole process.  One of the ways that I have been successful with really complex programs is to break them down into little plans. Today I am working on the first steps and tasks to reach digital eminence: I will call it my ‘Attitude Adjustment Plan.’

Step 1 Defining My Personal Brand 

j0283864I must confess that I have actually been working this digital eminence thing for several months and it is not easy.  At the center of this whole eminence thing is a the PERSONAL BRAND.  Without knowing your personal brand you have nothing to focus on and nothing to be eminent in.  Your personal brand is “what you are known for.”  It is how you define yourself in the work world while highlighting the personal elements that uniquely tell the world what makes you special.

“Personal Branding links your passions, key personal attributes, and strengths with your value proposition, in a crystal clear message that differentiates your unique promise of value from your peers and resonates with your target audience.”Meg Guiseppi, Personal Branding Expert 

Focusing on myself makes me a little uncomfortable, it is not something I am used to doing, but I know that I will not get to where I need to go if I don’t, so here goes . . .


Task 1.  What is my vision and my purpose?  Before I can brand myself, I need to dig deep (introspection is tough but necessary), and understand what it is I want to be known for.  What practice or expertise is it that I am trying to build?  What kind of client relationships do I want?  And ask myself those hard questions about my purpose for doing all this.

Task 2.  What are my values and my passions?  This is the touchy-feely stuff.  I really have to understand what I stand for, my world view and my personal values, to be able to be real (aka: authentic) so that I can move forward.  To decide if an opportunity is a good fit for me, I really need to understand my operating principles, my personal belief system, my passions (those things that drive me) or I will not be happy ultimately.  (And, if Mommy is not happy, no one is happy!)

This homework may take a while.  Actually branding is probably something I will be working on for the rest of my life, so now is as good a time to start as any.

ARE YOU WITH ME?  This is the road to Digital Eminence, and remember we are doing it with a Digital Attitude!  If you have questions about your assignment just comment below.  Class is now in session.       

Today’s Links:

30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore

Leverage Social Media To Convey Your Expertise

Thanks for taking the journey with me.


See you in the Cloud – Lorian

(All views are my own)