Social Media Tools:
An Introduction to Their Role in Project Management
ALAN LEVINE, CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER, JOHN F. KENNEDY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, TESSITURA NETWORK, INC.
It is likely that the trend I’ve noticed in our workplace in recent years developed gradually, starting with one or two people and spreading. But the revelation of it came to me suddenly, just before the phenomenon reached critical mass.
I walked into an office at the Kennedy Center, where our software developers sit in a U-shaped arrangement facing the walls with an open space in the center for group discussions that also allowed one to easily see what everyone was doing. I must have been unusually quiet, because nobody “alt-tabbed” to another screen when I entered the room. As I looked around, two of the developers were using Instant Messaging. Another was on a Web browser, reading a blog written by one of the lead architects of the software environment he was working in. All three were hard at work. Instead of working “heads down” trying to solve the day’s challenges, they were reaching out in new ways: asking questions, sharing ideas, and getting immediate help from other developers, inside and outside the organization. They were going immediately and directly to the best source of information, wherever it might be. On its own, without directives, the team had reinvented itself and its primary means of communicating and collaborating. The team had also extended its reach and the resources available to it—at virtually no cost!