What makes collaboration software into social project management software?

There is a fundamental difference between PM 2.0 and Social Project management. PM 2.0 was a blanket term used to describe the use of web 2.0 technologies as diverse as blogs and VoIP to help teams collaborate openly online. However, as we’ve previously argued, PM 2.0 and Social Project Management are fundamentally different. Unfortunately, the software tools industry tends to use the terms interchangeably. In order for collaboration software to function as social project management software, it must have several specific qualities.

1. Integration with the community

Most stand alone project collaboration software fails this initial test. In order for projects to obtain the value promise of social project management, the project cannot be a silo to which only named users have access. While projects must be properly secured, the value of social project management (and any social platform or application) comes from the ability contained within the social platform to coordinate needed expertise from inside and outside the project team. Only when a social project management system is integrated with the full social network of an organization, with access information regarding where to find experts in the network, can the full value of social software be realized. This integration with the full organizational social network is fundamental to the next two points.

2. Visibility

True social business is based upon trust, sharing, and visibility. In light of this, the integrated and open nature of social project management software is contrasted starkly with the siloed approaches of most project-based PM 2.0 systems. As we mentioned in the previous post, many PM 2.0 initiatives are project specific, with multiple PM 2.0 platforms being used within a single organization.

What is required to drive true social project management is a unified platform that can handle projects from the simple to the complex, but integrated into the social fabric of the organization to allow visibility to whomever requires it.

3. Openness

Social business is about openness, and social project management is no different. However, this is one of the more difficult obstacles to achieve in any business environments. Too often, people desire opacity in their actions – the better to hide problems, “control” information, and manage expectations and image.

However, for businesses to truly leverage the social potential of their organization, people have to know what’s going on – especially what problems are happening. The relationship between the investigation of possible alternatives and actions is directly proportional to the size of the audience to which the issue is broadcast. PM 2.0 software is absolutely fine when it comes to broadcasting issues to the team, but social project management software can broadcast to the organization.

4. Scalability

Clearly, in order for a solution to meet the needs of an entire large organization, it must be scalable. Social project management is not about targeting non project managers. It’s not about doing small projects, it is an Enterprise concept and should be able to accommodate every project manager and every project constituency regardless of how complex the project is. As a matter of fact, the more complex a project is ,and the larger the project organization, the more value social project management can bring to the table. Some PM 2.0 vendors seem to limit applicability of social project management to smaller teams on simpler projects to justify scaling limitations. Scalability is a required component of realizing integration, visibility and openness at the enterprise level.

Truly the social enterprise is one where the organization is leveraged as the team as much as possible. Social project management software is one place where, if implemented properly and with corresponding organizational changes (i.e. – instilling a willingness and compulsion for openness), this broad leveraging of the organizational expertise is made possible.

(This post was written by John Tripp, Social Project Management evangelist at Trilog Group)

Want to try social project management? ProjExec provides the embedded, social project management capability to your IBM-based social collaboration business. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/triloggroup/featured.

ProjExec is available for IBM Lotus Quickr, IBM Connections, IBM Websphere Portal, and in the IBM SmartCloud. Try it for free today! 

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4 responses to “What makes collaboration software into social project management software?

  1. Binfire.com brings social and web 2.0 features into one application. It supports visibility, openness and scalability. We are also working on secure integration with community. A free version to try the application is available.

  2. Pingback: What Makes Social Project Management Software? | The Mindjet Blog

  3. $author After I read this article I was very impressed. I enjoyed every paragraph very much. This content is well-planned and written. This is great work.

  4. For a good and somewhat obvious reason this topic interests me a lot (Wrike, the company I work for, provides social project management software), so I thought I’d drop a line. In addition to the characteristics pinpointed in the post, I’d mention bottom-up planning as an important feature. When it’s not only the manager who defines the plan, but also the workers contributing to it, the whole team becomes more agile and reacts to changes quicker.
    I’d also highlight the ease of use and, as a consequence, quick adoption. To have teams start _using_ the tool from day one (instead of figuring it out for days), you need to ensure your software naturally integrate in their lives… Integrations with other popular tools is an example of making this happen.
    A comfort social app for project management revolves around usability, easy data accessibility and productivity for users at any organizational level. If a team experiences a productivity boost without a “revolution” in the working habits – that’s when a social PM app is a success!

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