The PM Podcast


Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 190: Every Project is a Social Network (Premium)

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Michael KrebsRobert SzilinskiIn last week’s episode we gave you tips, tricks and lessons learned how you can improve your project communications with proper use of modern tools. Call them social media tools, call them enterprise 2.0 tools, call them whatever you want. But at the core of using them is the understanding that many problems on projects can be avoided with proper communication and collaboration within your project team.

But there are still unsolved problems on our projects.

In this second interview with Robert Szilinski and Michael Krebs (www.esentri.com and www.social-pm.com) we talk about the need for a flatter top-down hierarchie, combining Agile with waterfall, using enhanced social media concepts for project management and other ways of integrating social media tools into enterprise project management.

 

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #190. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com, nice to have you with us.

This is a Premium Episode especially recorded for our Premium subscribers only. Thank you for your support.

In last week’s episode, we gave you tips, tricks and lessons learned on how you can improve your project communications with proper use of modern tools. Call them social media tools, call them enterprise 2.0 tools, call them whatever you want. But at the core of using them is the understanding that many problems on projects today can be avoided with proper communication and collaboration within your team.

But there are still unsolved problems on our projects.

In this second interview with Robert Szilinksi and Michael Krebs from Esentri, we talk about the need for a flatter top-down hierarchy, combining Agile with waterfall, using enhanced social media concepts for project management and other ways of integrating social media tools into enterprise project management.

And now, let’s all unfriend our sponsors. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Robert Szilinski and Michael Krebs from Esentri.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hallo Robert. Herzlich willkommen wieder beim Project Management Podcast

Robert Szilinski: Hallo Cornelius. Vielen Dank fuer die Einladung zu Deinem Podcast.

Cornelius Fichtner: Aber gerne doch. Und Hallo Michael:

Michael Krebs: Hallo Cornelius. Auch ich sag vielen Dank, dass wir bei Dir im Podcast dabei sein duerfen.

Cornelius Fichtner: Perfect! And now let’s switch over to English and not frighten our listeners too much here. This is our second interview together on social media and Michael, why don’t you give us an overview, a quick overview and a recap of what we talked about in the first interview. What’s the need for modern concepts in social media and project management?

Michael Krebs: Okay, no problem, Cornelius. I think what we wanted to point out in our first interview was how can we adapt the methods of communication in private social networking to the professional way of managing projects within our company and also within the projects we manage for other companies and for other stakeholders.

I think one of the key questions we have to answer within this interview also is how can we be agile, how can we transparent, how can we be trustable and how can we get people to collaborate within our project social network like they are used to within Facebook or also within new social networks like Google Plus and all the other competitors on the market at the moment.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! We did look at a few solutions in the first interview but some problems are still open right they are not solved. What are those problems?

Michael Krebs: Yeah, you’re right. Because I think if you look at the private or personal behavior in social networks, you’re talking about your private things. You’re talking about what you did last weekend. But it’s a little bit more complicated within companies and within project because one main thing in our eyes is beside the communication, you also have to optimize your processes. And in that case, it’s also important if we talk about security, how can we store our data of a project in a secure way and how can we motivate our team members to take part in this generated social network. Because one of our key claims is that every project automatically is a social network but the people don’t find it together because they want to but they are more or less forced to work together in this team. So you have one barrier to override in every project to motivate other team members to take part in this effective way of communication, we can build up with using social network methods within our projects.

Cornelius Fichtner: You said, every project is a social network. Can you tell us a little bit more about that? What do you mean by that?

Michael Krebs: If you look at all the tools around in the internet for example on the private side, the Facebook or the Google Plus and also on the company side, there are adoptions of tools like Yammer or like Socialcast. What is the core of these tools?

And we think if you start up a project, there are different people who don’t know each other who come together for a kickoff and who have to build a team very quick. So automatically after the first days they were together, they need to build up a social network because if this social network is not working, the whole project is not working and this is one of the biggest problems in projects today. These projects are not successful because of the lack of communication and this communication lack is also part of this not building of social networks.

So I think for successful projects, we need to take care of the advantages of social networking and social project management to implement the stakeholders within our project management as it is possible and also to improve the communication within the management of our projects.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. And I think, Robert, this is now exactly what we’re going to do in the next part of the interview here because what we want to talk about is we want to talk about introducing the concepts of social project management in a company that doesn’t yet have project management and the use of social tools like that.

So let me start out with the challenges question here: What are the challenges when you do that when you try and implement social media tools for project management in a company?

Robert Szilinski: Yeah, thank you, Cornelius. That’s a really tough task sometimes because not all companies are used to project management culture and social media. So maybe the first and most important issue is to improve the project management and social media culture in a company. Think about the retention of some team members. They are sometimes very careful because they think: “Oops! I’m transparent and that someone might not trust me or do we really get better results if we communicate over social networks”. We experience very good results whenever we involve the management teams to give them the feeling they don’t lose control when they introduce social media strategy in their project management area but in contrast, they get better control in reporting. They have more motivated teams and the fear of social media in the enterprise is not very critical as long as you explain to them how the data will be used and how secure the whole thing will be. That’s the one part.

Second challenge of course is to involve all team members. And what we experienced here is that a lot of the project managers nowadays just try to involve the IT but that’s maybe the wrong part only. You also have to involve the business people and to take care of the usability of your tools so everyone can really participate. Sometimes you have to be pragmatic to introduce some tools people really like to use to make it easy to them to participate and to share information with others. And by consequence, trust will be established and people will have positive and really good communication.

The last thing is to focus on real-life project activities. So not only academic concepts. Really take care of what people need in their everyday life and not only rely on academical or methodological concepts.

Cornelius Fichtner: At this point, it’s a good moment to remind people that you also are in the process of developing a social PM tool. Michael, tell us a little bit about this tool. What does it do exactly?

 

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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