The New Social Media Contender

By Fretty, Peter | PM Network, February 2012 | Go to article overview

The New Social Media Contender


Fretty, Peter, PM Network


Google+ enters the fray- and offers a new way to communicate on projects.

When the number of subscribers for Google+ reached 18 million last July, one month after it was introduced, the chatter intensified around whether or not the new offering will be the demise of Facebook.

While that doesn't seem likely, Google's social media platform is piquing interest in niche environments- and it's showing great promise in getting project managers to rethink how they use communication tools.

"Google+ is primarily a social network that can secondarily assist with project management- whereas traditional project management software tools, such as Primavera and Microsoft Project, are primarily project management tools that can secondarily facilitate team communications," says Tres Roeder, PMP, president of Roeder Consulting, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. "Given the reality that project management is more about people and communication than arbitrary tasks and timelines in a software tool, perhaps a social media platform is a better place to start for one's central project management software."

The project failure rate has been highly publicized- 63 percent of software initiatives, according to The Standish Group's Chaos Manifesto 20?. Much ofthat is due to poor communication, Mr. Roeder says, so it may be time for forward-looking project managers to take a fundamentally different approach.

Yet for Google+ to realize its potential within this realm, project leaders need to help stakeholders understand the importance of interpersonal communication.

"Research repeatedly shows that organizations who train more than their peers around leadership and interpersonal skills are more likely to have higher success rates," Mr. Roeder says. "If organizations want well-communicating teams, they need to understand and embrace the tool capable of facilitating this level of interaction."

NOT SO STICKY YET

Acceptance will undoubtedly be the biggest barrier to Google+'s widespread adoption, asserts William L. Weaver, PhD, associate professor in the department of integrated science, business and technology at La Salle University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. …

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