Why Project Managers Should Twitter

From the Project Management 2.0 Blog
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New technologies, concepts, and Web 2.0 tools are popping up everywhere. How can you use them to help your project team collaborate, communicate - or just give your project an extra boost? [Contact Dave]

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Situation: You're Tweet-curious.

How many times have you heard that project management is all about communication?  Communicating with your team is important, but so is communication with the outside world.  The latter is one of the reasons you are on gantthead.  Both are reasons you should at least become familiar with Twitter.

Let me begin by saying I’ve been on Twitter for almost two years, tweeting once until last week.  I never really got it until I got a few direct messages that dragged me into really trying it out.  Three benefits really struck me as important.  I think they could be important to most PMs who care about doing a good job AND improving their knowledge of the field.

Real Large-Scale Collaboration
Have you ever been responsible for a large-scale system rollout?  Often there are points where you present information to a large audience and only a small percentage of people with questions ask them.  In the end you have questions from 5% of the people who actually have issues with what you are doing.   Imagine what would happen if you got everything out in a non-confrontational and documented way with very little overhead or cost.  Twitter could help you do that.

How important is “sounding smart” (or being smarter) to you? 
You would be surprised at how inspirational a twitter stream of random thoughts and links on PM can be.  It’s hard not to spend 10 minutes running through a twitter search of something you are interested in --- say project management and not find something that interests you or sparks your imagination.  Compare that to 10 minutes of TV at night or 10 minutes of waiting in line someplace.

How important is being connected to you?
If you want to connect to business people in general, go to linkedin.  If you want to connect to other PMs, do that on gantthead. If you want to connect to people from a variety of disciplines, based on your interests, Twitter is not a bad place to do it.  Again, start by searching on your favorite terms.  Last night, I ended up having a brief email exchange with one of the guys on NBCs “Heroes”.  No big deal, but not likely to happen without Twitter.  How many PM folks do you network with?  Wouldn't it be great if you knew more about them - creating easier ways to start conversation and build a closer relationship? (see video below)


These are just a few thoughts on the subject.  It’s not for everyone.  It’s certainly not for those who have a very modest interest in networking.  I just thought it would be useful to offer a couple quick ways to try it out.   If you do try it, please let me know how it turned out.   If you would like to follow me, I'm DaveG253.

Posted on: March 02, 2009 04:12 PM | Permalink

Comments (27)

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Ah... Ya just gotta love the Daily Show! Unless you love the Colber(t) Repor(t) more!

Thanks for sharing your insights Dave. Have to admit I haven't taken the twitter dive yet, but it does sound tempting.. Kind of like Pringles or some other salty potato chips that one craves and and then must have more and more of - addicting and bad for you if intake is not managed carefully ;)

Twitter can be an add-on but it can also create the information overload. There is so much information these days you need to take care of the risk of overloading is increasing. SO yes Twitter can help you but youhave to manage it otherwise it might hinder you

I just signed up to give it a try and see how useful it is for project and non-project work. You can follow me at the super stealth user name of ravenyoung.

Here's a WSJ article, published today, on How to Twitter.

How they used Twitter at Humana - thank you Chris Hall

Here's an example of Twitter being used at a meeting in the Venture Capital space. Here are the top three take aways...


1) Twitter adds a lot of value to a live event if you have enough people at the event who are comfortable live blogging it. In our case, three or four active participants was enough. Their job, so to speak, is to find the juiciest comments and throw them up on the board.



2) It also provides a way for less agressive people in the group to share their thoughts with the rest of the group even when they can't get a word in edgewise.



3) It provides an ability for others who are not at the event to both follow the event live but also contribute to the event in real time.



Great post! I just created GIG here "Social Media in Project Management". Lots of PMs are discovering the value of establishing their online social network. Twitter is a fabulous tool for information sharing / discovery!

Follow me on twitter @susanbeebe and let's share ideas, tools, and knowledge online!

http://twitter.com/susanbeebe


I work at LiquidPlanner, and we just launched a Twitter-like feature inside our project management tool. We call it "Workspace Chatter," and as far as we know we're the first project management software that incorporates Twitter-type functionality integrated into the project plan. (Sorry if this seems overly-promotional, but I think it is relevant to this conversation!)

We've been using it internally for months now, and it's really changed how we communicate. I log on multiple times every day and the first thing I do is go through the chatter. It helps me figure out who's working on what, where the major issues are, and clues me in to things going on in my project workspace even if they're not related to tasks I'm working on. It does create a community the same way you have a community on Twitter itself.

You can follow LiquidPlanner on twitter, too:
http://twitter.com/liquidplanner


Here's a link to Michael Deutch''s How to Twitter for Business Mind Map.

It is good to see project managers jumping on the Twitter bandwagon. If anyone wants to find me there, I am @alexsbrown and my company is @rlprj

I looked down on Twitter for years. I saw people using it as a way to post what they had just eaten for lunch, and other boring details. I also thought that 140 characters was not enough time and space to say anything useful.

I have seen some people use it in valuable ways, though. My main advice to anyone getting started is to decide up front what your goal and what your "voice" is on Twitter. What do you want to post? Why? Who are you sharing this with?

Personally, I am using it as a way to reach out to people where my articles are too long and too infrequent. I never share boring personal stuff, but I try to provide something useful or thoughtful that I came across in my day.

It is also definitely a work-related outlet for me, not a personal one.

I look forward to seeing more of you on Twitter!

--Alex

Thanks, Dave for the nudge. I've also joined and will give it a test drive. So far, I see the value in information sharing "real time" globally. Susan has started a nice SocialMedia GIG and Raven Young is giving us "newbies" some great tips. You can follow me at my alias "califgirl232".

~N.

@DaveG253: Just started a Twibe. Visit http://twibes.com/gantthead to join.

I find that it is actually a great remedy for the info overload. My work email and personal email are both pretty overwhelming to do anything but add to information stress. I rarely turn on IM because I find it too intrusive and distracting, but there are A) Times I need a quick distraction to shake out the cobwebs a bit (not too much) and B) Real time updates I need to get from people I work with.Twitter can help with both of these.



I like Twitter for distraction because it is such a minimized way of communicating - I can dig through what people have posted - friends, co-workers, whatever, and if I respond, or post something new, the text limitation also tends to limit t he amount of time I spend on it ( as opposed to something like email or Facebook.) So, there is a healthy, brief distration without it becoming this whole great pit of Carkoon thing.



For the work updates, I like the push and I can totally see using it to notify people of changes, updates, etc. I can even see using it as a tool to start a dialogue and potentially even just as an artifact dumping ground where I''d send messages to keep for the future - just in case.



The problem I keep having with that is that I feel like I''m trying to make Twitter be SMS and if I am, why don''t I just use SMS?



~dave



Anonymous
You must be kidding me. With the endless interruptions a PM has to put up with, why on earth would I want even more distractions?

It''s not for everyone - sorry if you found it offensive. People who want to avoid distractions (or just remain anonymous to the outside world) will always have the ability to do so.

Yeah, I mean some PM''s don''t even have time to log in or type their name into a comment, so why would they want to Twitter?



Seriously though Anonymous.....



Twitter and other tools do not have to be onerous if you are smart about using them. If you don''t have the inclination, so be it.



Heck, you could use it with protected status on a project team, and the PM could just filter the feeds using key words once a week to see what''s going on with a specific topic on the project, etc.



The possibilities are limitless, if you are open to them.



Josh Nankivel

twitter.com/pmStudent



aligned
Anonymous, or Amish?

There are a number of pros and cons as well as significant challenges in establishing the parameters to foster the behaviors to exploit the full potential of Twitter. But if for no other reason, this application may help prevent if not drastically reduce those situations when a member of the project team is at an impasse, and there is no help to be found. Just imagine if a every time somebody on the project hit a wall, advice and assistance was just a tweet away.

Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist
http://community.ca.com/blogs/theitgovernanceevangelist/

One possible issue for some projects is the privacy of the information you need to share. I really liked the idea of LiquidPlanner team to add twitter-like capabilities to the project workspace in their system. I think this can be a possible way forward for some of us.

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