The 5 Questions You Should Ask Any Social Project Management Vendor – Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of five posts

Let’s summarize what we’ve asked so far. In our first post, we asked, “How does your tool allow me to leverage the expertise of my entire organization?” , and noted that the first question begins to illuminate whether what is being sold is “social software” at all. Next we asked “Does your software support real project management?”, and discussed the lack of support for the project management role and practice within many online and social task management systems. We then turned to needs of the team, and asked “Do you provide what my team needs to collaborate fully on the project while minimizing the impact of project management tasks on project completion.” In that post we argued that social project management systems need all of the online collaboration tools that the web can provide, but also need the ability to structure that collaboration around project task completion and status reporting – in order to minimize work about work. In the fourth post, we asked “Does your software support what management – outside the team – needs?”, and emphasized the need for the social network of the project – management included – to be given access to the project data in real time, and to participate in the project fully.

In this post we ask a question that is related to many of the previous posts, namely “Does your software support our enterprise social strategy?”. If you haven’t yet developed an enterprise social strategy, you most likely will in the next year or two. An enterprise social strategy is a key step in ensuring that investments in are leveraged and exploited as fully as possible. Remember that (as we’ve stated before) Metcalfe’s law posits that the value of a network increases non-linearly to the increase of the nodes (think people in our case) connected to the network. This holds for a “single-purpose” network. However, for a multi-purpose network, of which a social network is an instance, the potential value of the network is also multiplied by the number of “uses” for which the network is employed. In the context of the business value of enterprise social, these “uses” equate to business processes that are integrated with the social network.

For this reason every company who makes a material investment in social software needs to be sure that those investments are compatible. So, in a fashion,  Question 5 closes the loop with Question 1. In the first post we asked if the software was capable of leveraging connections to a greater social network. This post gets to the core idea of whether the software leverages connections with the “right” enterprise social network. As of this posting, we are aware of three project management systems that integrate with larger social networking systems. Goshido and Wrike integrate with the Jive SBS system, and ProjExec integrates with IBM Connections, IBM Lotus Quickr, and IBM SmartCloud. (We will not use this post to compare and contrast those systems directly. Also, if you know of more systems that integrate with enterprise social platforms, comment below, and we’ll add them to the list.) So, if you are an IBM Social Collaboration software shop, ProjExec gives you unique opportunities to leverage your enterprise social investment, and if you’re a Jive SBS customer, Goshido and Wrike do the same for you.

Hopefully, this series has given you something to think about when conceptualizing social project management, and social software in general. We hope that it is valuable to you. As always, we’d love your comments below.

This series of articles was written by John Tripp, Social Project Management Evangelist at Trilog Group (www.triloggroup.com)

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