Blogs as Serious Tools for Serious Project Managers?

Blogs are more than a medium for marketing, news, and education. From personal experience I can tell you that they also serve as serious tools for serious project managers. As a professional project manager I’ve worked with companies from Seattle to Sydney. A key factor in making sure that a project goes well is communications. Blogs are excellent mediums for communicating information in a concise manner that gives all team members the ability to participate in the conversation.

Last year my little company of 70 people was acquired by a Fortune 50 company. As the project manager for the integration I relied heavily on our internal blog to communicate information about project status and schedule. It was also incredibly useful in helping train people on new processes associated with our acquisition.

The number one software used for communications in a project isn’t Microsoft Project or some other fancy tool—it’s email. Blogs have a number of advantages over email. Although our users got email notifications about blog updates they didn’t have to store and manage these notifications in their own email client. They could access the blog from their email notice. And if they wanted to go back to the subject they just had to search the blog. No digging through their inbox, deleted items, folders, or even worse—asking ME to send them yet another copy.

To communicate information about our integration we also put out several newsletters. But this format tended to be a big production in contrast to the blog. For each newsletter we had to pull together a number of articles and format them. By the time we got all the content together some of it was already dated. Plus, people tend to shy away from or skim longer items like newsletters. But with a blog we sent out postings as the information was needed. It was timely and digestible.

Although we kept our blog articles short they often linked to more comprehensive information. Users could look at the posting to get the gist of the update. Then they could use links in the blog to access detailed training, schedules, and other updates. The blog was their portal to key information and remained available well into the future.

Another advantage of a blog is that it’s a very interactive tool. When someone discovered something interesting about our new company they could share that information in a posting. Some users discovered “quick tips” about working with new systems that they shared with everyone else. I also encouraged our executives to share good news about the project in blog postings rather than waiting for company events.

If you’re interested in learning more about how blogs, wikis, and social media are useful tools for managers check out my posting on Enterprise 2.0 and the Hostage Dog. That article also links to a recent presentation I gave to the Seattle area chapter of the Project Management Institute.

Dennis Brooke writes about Almost True Stories of Life at www.dennisbrooke.wordpress.com. He’s a manager for a tiny but important division of a Fortune 50 company. On November 4 he’ll be speaking on Enterprise 2.0 and Project Management in Bellevue, WA at the Nexus ECM conference. See www.nexusecm for information.

This posting originally published on Blogging Bistro and is reprinted courtesy of  that site.

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