Social Media has now become pervasive in many organizations. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are social media tools that are no longer the exception; they are the rule. Organizations are implementing these tools into their cultures so these are now common tools being used by project managers today. A few years ago, someone gave me a nudge to try social media tools. Although, I was already using Linked In, I didn’t see how these tools fit into my role as a project manager; I wasn’t alone. Social Media in the workplace wasn’t exactly popular just a few years ago.
Today, I wear two hats to interact with social media as a Community and Project Manager. I use Twitter, Linked In and Facebook daily; I connect with my friends and colleagues in my global communities, join in several twitter chats weekly, and get the latest news before it hits the paper or the media. I'm able to collaborate via the integration that exists between many of the social media tools. I’m like most project managers; I carve out time to connect with my network, build relationships and connect with global communities.
Over a month ago, I discovered a twitter chat for Project Managers called “#PMChat” and have been actively participating every Friday at 9:00 am PST; 12:00 EST. It’s fresh, fun, entertaining and educational at the same time. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to be a guest speaker on the #PMChat PreGame Show on the topic “Leadership, Got What it Takes” and also provided a supporting blog article for the #PMChat community.
I interviewed the co-founders of #PMChat Robert Kelly Managing Partner of KPS, and Robert Prinzo, Consulting Partner of The Prinzo Group to gain more insight into their roles as project managers and their new twitter chat format. I asked both of them a few questions about project management, social media and #PMChat. Here’s what they had to say about it…
NC: Tell me a little bit about your background in Project Management and what you love most about working and consulting in the profession.
Robert Kelly: My start in Project Management was like many others in this profession...accidental. I won’t get into the entire story, but essentially I was asked to handle a very mundane task but did it with great organization and was forward thinking. The PM responsible for the overall program was impressed and asked if I would join his project as a team lead/project coordinator. In the eleven or so years since then, I have had the great opportunity to work on very complex, truly global initiatives at some of the largest financial services firms, a large PC manufacturer and currently at the leader in open source software.
The one thing I love most about consulting is diversity. Some may read this and think “He only has 11 years of experience? I have 30, why should I listen to him?” My ability to work with folks across a number of sectors, a wide range of initiatives (typical software dev, new product/service development, new tech deployments, business process redesign), at an enterprise level has provided me significant exposure to project management that some folks will never get in 30 years of working for the same organization. That exposure has allowed me to apply, fail, learn, succeed, and develop in so many situations that I am comfortable taking on any initiative going forward.
Rob Prinzo – I started out as a technical consultant for large scale ERP implementations. As I progressed, I gravitated towards Project Management as I understood both the technical and people side of projects. Just as Robert mentioned, I enjoy the diversity of projects and clients that go along with being a consultant. Although there are unique nuances to different industries, the fundamentals for successful project are consistent.
NC:Social media is so popular today; what benefits have you experienced as Project Managers using Linked In and Twitter?
Robert Kelly: The fact that I am here with you is a perfect example! Project Management has long been an after thought in development budgets and career paths. Most PMs didn’t go to school for this (recent shift though), most organization don’t provide mentors, etc. For a PM to succeed they must develop themselves and social media is the perfect outlet for that. I have met tremendous PMs from around the world and have been able to collaborate with folks from every perspective, which has added a great deal to my tool set as a PM. Through these Twitter connections, I have had the opportunity to host round table events, secure speaking engagements, contribute to an e-book and so much more. Even more excited is the recent development of the #PMChat community on Twitter, which is growing rapidly and with tremendous engagement.
Rob Prinzo – I enjoy the sharing, expertise and networking available via LinkedIn and Twitter. PMChat is a perfect example of being able to collaborate with some of the best and most interesting project managers in the world. Without these sites and forums, we would not have the rich on-line discussions available to us.
NC:How did you collaborate to come up with the big idea for a Twitter Chat called #PMChat. It is just for the Project Management Community or is there a larger audience you'd like to reach?
Robert Kelly: Well, the idea was Rob Prinzo’s. He and I had collaborated for some time on Twitter and one day he reached to ask if I would be interested in the endeavor. Realizing the benefits of Twitter and how much I had learned over the past 1-2 years via the medium, I thought it would be a blast! While the primary audience is for PMs, I think so many other folks could benefit from the discussions. Some of the topics have included managing international teams, understanding personalities, and leadership vs. management. All of these topics can be of great value to anyone in a position to lead or influence their team or larger organization.
Rob Prinzo – One of the great things about Twitter is access to a variety of discussions. I follow several business topics became engaged in several twitter chats. The best Twitter chats that I saw were the ones that extended beyond the one hour chat and created a community. After looking around, I did not see any Twitter chats related to Project Management and I reached out to Robert to see if he would like to start one. Although Robert gives me credit for the original idea, building PMChat is truly a collaborative effort with each of us bringing new ideas and running with them – such as the PreGame Show which was an extension of the radio show Robert was doing at Kelly Project Solutions.
As for the audience, I think there is still a tremendous opportunity to continue to grow the project management community. We have only been doing this for a couple months and there are a lot of project managers out there that we would like to engage.
Check out Part II of this article to find out about the leadership opportunities to particpate in #PMChat.