I recently read Elizabeth Harrin's short eBook Get Started Using Social Media on your Projects. The eBook is 6.50 pounds and is available at https://www.pm4girls.elizabeth-harrin.com/shop. I read the eBook because I am interested in learning about new ways for project managers and team members to work together. I am also curious as how best to use social media tools in project organizations and how that best fits into the project management software "world." It is easy enough to throw up a blog, but how do you use these tools to truly work better, increase communication, etc. - all the things that we want to do in our projects.
What I didn't like
I finished the eBook looking for some more meat to it. It is an overview for how to get started without a lot of in depth analysis, discussion, and guides for how to do it. How do you really implement a blog and how does that play with your project schedules? But after all, this is a "Get Started" eBook and so I believe Elizabeth's goal was to get us thinking and wet our appetite a little bit. If you want more, like I do, you should read her full book, Social Media for Project Managers. In fact, this eBook is somewhat of a promotion for her book.
What I did like
We need to constantly work at improving ourselves and get better at what we do. That includes the technology that we use. Social media tools are out there and they do provide some very interesting potential in the project management environment. A Project Manager (or any manager for that matter) needs to be aware of these and educate themselves on methods to incorporate them.
Elizabeth does a good job here of orienting your thinking. You will finish the eBook with a clearer view of where to go next. You will also have the beginnings of what a social media tool strategy may look like. And you will probably be itching for more and will want to go do some more investigation, or read her full book. That is all a good thing. I believe that you will find it an opportunity to enhance your skills and add more value to your organization.
I also liked the fact that she laid out a simple plan for how you can start using social media tools. You could use this as a template to try it and to simply get started. And perhaps you just need to get going, give some things a try, and see what works for you.
If you are a manager that is not very familiar with social media tools, such as blogs and podcasts, this is especially a must read for you. You will find it a great starting point to gain a good view of the tools out there, and how you could implement them.
I would love to hear more about best practices in organizations that have invested heavily in social media-type tools. What works and what doesn't? I believe that social media tools will play an important role, but not the only role. How do they best interact with the needs for a more formalized schedule (to meet client deadlines), deliverable commitments, or cost tracking? I believe they will interact with those organizational needs, but I feel as though everyone is still not quite sure how best to do that. Elizabeth provides some guidance in that direction. It will be interesting and fun to learn and see how organizations really embrace this and get real value out of it.
My encouragement to you? You have probably used Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, or read or wrote on a blog. Start thinking about how social media tools can be used in your organization.