Letter from Managing Director, PMI India   |   Download a PDF version     

Project Management and Social IT
IT Project Management professional certification
By Atin Roy, PMP
One thing that always attracts me is IT 3.0, or social IT features of cloud-based solutions in project and service delivery management areas. In this Facebook and Twitter age, where electronic footprints are omnipresent, one cannot ignore social networking windows which knowingly or unknowingly become a part of our daily routine. Many organizations have started embracing these tools with social IT solutions to streamline communications and enhance productivity. Apart from standard project management solutions, social IT solutions integrate people, connect experts across the globe, offer a centralized platform to express views and opinions, and help display creativity.

How does it help a customer?

  • Consider an approach that follows agile techniques in project management which states that individuals and interactions drive iterations. A group chat during a brainstorming session, whether it is about a feature specification, design challenge, drastic upgrade or tools selection, could be of great help. Data can be stored and referred anytime for review, asynchronous update, and use as a knowledge base, and this effectively saves a lot of manual effort.

  • Tweet the workflow requirement, test criteria, and quality expectation which are frequent during extreme programming phases.

  • In a managed service environment, business users can ping the service desk agent and start chatting. Service engineers can facilitate users to test out solution scenarios or get inputs to reproduce an incident. A production ticket can be an outcome of these chat conversations. Business users can discuss emergency changes or critical incidents in a chat room with their IT staff. Think about capturing all the communications and attaching them to a single production ticket.

  • Social media encourages peer-to-peer support – collecting all relevant inputs from experts around, online sharing of self-help articles, and sending automatic live updates to impacted stakeholders. Develop a community and forums to share best practices among like-minded people.

  • Business users can subscribe feeds for important and relevant updates in order to keep track of recent events.

  • direct interaction of business to customer, live feedback sharing, confrontation, innovative suggestions, and experts’ judgment add value to the services you offer a customer.

How does it help a project manager?

  • An IT project manager can also be a beneficiary of all the above features.

  • In addition, it makes the scrum master’s road easy and he can look back to the recorded meetings after every sprint and re-evaluate the burn-down charts.

  • Managing a virtual team, where constant interactions are regular and essential while creating project plan, goals, milestones, team walkthrough, feedbacks, and change discussion. How about a single solution that has all the infrastructure set-up like live meeting, video conferencing, chatting, and live feed to collaborate?

  • It increases participation and encourages the team to express, and debate their opinions and views indiscriminately. It also helps to engage people sitting miles apart by establishing a communication bridge.

The other side of social IT:

  • Although this media of communication makes the world small, it has some negative impressions too. Hence, it needs to be regularly monitored by a discussion coordinator or moderator.

  • In collaborative environments, a discussion forum may not always maintain the right focus. Similarly each topic may not get the same attention. Hence, it is essential to keep tracking discussions.

  • The implementation of an effective communication policy for professional usage of networking features within a controlled environment could prevent unwanted incidents.

  • Any Internet solution with extensive feature collaborations is likely to impact performance.

(Mr. Atin Roy, PMP, is a senior project manager with Infosys Ltd.)
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