The PM Podcast


Project Management Interviews for Beginners and Experts

Episode 162 Premium: How Social Media Can Work on Your Projects

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This episode is sponsored by The PDU Podcast:
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Elizabeth HarrinWhen I interviewed Elizabeth Harrin on her new book "Social Media for Project Managers" my fist question was the skeptics view. I basically asked her "why should I bother with social media on my project because after all... I have to deliver results and not waste my time of Facebook."

Well... we decided that the proof is in the pudding, or rather the proof that social media works on projects is in the case studies.

So in this, the second interview on Social Media and Project Management with Elizabeth Harrin, we are going to present a number of case studies that illustrate nicely, that social media tools can indeed provide value on projects if you apply them appropriately.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: This is The Project Management Podcast™. We bring project management to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at www.pm‑podcast.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to this Premium Episode #162. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™, nice to have you with us.

And because this is a premium episode, it means that only you, our premium listeners have access to it. Thanks a lot for your support.

When I interviewed Elizabeth Harrin on her new book “Social Media for Project Managers,” my first question was the skeptics view. I basically asked her why on earth should I bother with social media on my project because after all I have to deliver results and not waste my time on Facebook?

Well, we decided that the proof is in the pudding or rather the proof that social media works on projects is in the case studies. So in this, the second interview on social media and project management with Elizabeth Harrin, we are going to present a number of case studies that illustrate nicely that social media tools can indeed provide value on projects if you apply them appropriately.

So, get your project team together for a social gathering and enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Elizabeth Harrin, author, blogger and speaker.

Cornelius Fichtner: Elizabeth, thanks for coming back and spending a few more minutes with me and my listeners.

Elizabeth Harrin: Thank you very much for having me.

Cornelius Fichtner: Talking about social media is like eating books.

Elizabeth Harrin: What’s that, eating books?

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, because you don’t really know what you’re getting if you’re just talking about it. You can’t just talk about social media. You have to talk about how social media helps in project management.

So our goal here today is to talk about a few of the case studies that you have included in your book “Social Media for Project Managers” to help my listeners understand how social media will help them on their real life projects. And you have selected a few for us. Let’s jump into them.

Elizabeth Harrin: Okay. Well, shall I tell you a bit about the woman I spoke to called Bonnie Cooper?

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, please.

Elizabeth Harrin: She uses a wiki in her projects environment and she uses it for communication with stakeholders. And what she does is takes key bits of the information and just places it in a dashboard so they always have real-time information and they also use their wiki in project team meetings and they update it live so that there’s always the most up to date data is available in there.

And one of the things that struck me when I was talking to her about how it’s been useful for them is that they actually went through an audit and they needed to track back the history of how the project had evolved and needed to present this information to the auditors and they can basically say: “Here’s our wiki. Here is everything you need to know is here.” And I thought that was a really valuable explanation really of how social media can help you track things in a way that then makes it very transparent to everybody.

Cornelius Fichtner: Oh and was that because the wiki kept old versions of the various documents that they had had?

Elizabeth Harrin: Yes. Well, wikis can do that if that’s an option that you choose to set up. But I think for her, it was also about being able to click and drill down into the next couple of detail so you would end up with your high-level summary suitable for the stakeholders if you wanted to see more information because a wiki is a collection of hyperlinked pages. You could click and move on the next level of detail and everything was documented and easily navigatable for them.

Cornelius Fichtner: Right. What about the issue of…let’s take a situation where you are in healthcare or in construction or also in aerospace where your documents have to be controlled and you have to actually physically print your project plan, you have to sign your project plan and everybody has to sign off. That’s a bit difficult with a wiki, right?

Elizabeth Harrin: Yes, I suppose there are some challenges around doing that. One of the things that I do where I work, we tend to physically sign off documents especially when it’s related to the completion of a particular stage and therefore the supplier gets some money. So I will sign off something that says, this is done and therefore please issue us with the invoice. But I will scan the document in and save it as a PDF file and then that’s what I would attach to our document depository so we have for each particular item that we’re purchasing all the details are stored in there, SharePoint actually; and then the document is attached electronically and I show the original.

So for me, yes, you’re right to say that there are challenges when you have to have physical signatures but I think you can get around that and if you don’t need to keep the paper, it’s less filing and it’s better not to clutter your desk with confidential papers.

Cornelius Fichtner: Absolutely. You mentioned SharePoint and wiki in these case studies right now, totally different.

Elizabeth Harrin: Yes.

Cornelius Fichtner: Would you explain to us what the big difference is between the two?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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