Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Social Project Management Platform

@task has a new application they are developing to try to tie in some social media communication within their application.  The application is what it was before with tasks but it is now in a more user friendly platform with drag and drop capabilities and communication at the task level.
Some of the items I like about it are:
1.      1.  You have the ability to track tasks to the person assigned to them (maybe this is incorporated into their yearly review).

         2. You can be part of a project and see the news feed type of updates as things are completed, comments or things are updated.

2.      3.  The users have the ability to type in status updates and suggest when they think they will be done, and they can prioritize their own lists (so you can see when they may work on your task next).

3.      4. Shows baseline, what people are planning to do on a task, and highlights the critical path.

         5. You can attach files to tasks (maybe a mock-up of a screen shot).

5.      6. If someone reply’s to your comments you are notified.

6.      7. Has dashboard views you can customize including % complete,  EV and comments on the project.

Overall it looks to be a pretty simple to use product that looks like it would work well if one was running a project in an Agile environment.

There is a 3 part demo of the product; part 1:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Social Media Policy for your workplace?

Just what we need is another policy right?  Social media looks like it is powering on and is capturing more users’ everyday including at the workplace.  GASP!  Not at your office, right?!?  In a recent study as many as 50% of companies have put the lock down at the firewall level to stop employees from accessing places like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.  And Palo Alto Networks is coming out with new software that will give Facebook the ability to create groups in the office to determine who can write messages or give a group the ability to read only.

Do you really need a policy?

If you are worried about your company’s image out on the interweb, as represented by employees within your organization, then I would say yes.  Also, it may be nice to set some guidelines up on how it may be used within a project (you may want to include this in your communication plan within your project). 

Are you monitoring the buzz about your company on the web?

If you are not, you better start.  If that one negative review is the first thing that pops up in a google search you better know about it!  Monitoring can be done by opening a google alerts account that will notify you if your keyword (company name) is found in a website.  Or you can purchase software to do this from organizations like Networked Insights.

What is in a policy?

1.     Don’t forget your day job.  You need to have a statement like this within the policy if you plan to have an open network (no locking down of social networks).  You may want to take it to the next level about reserving the right to remove or limit their access or possible termination if they are abusing it (not getting their work done).

2.     Rules for engagement.  Include items like not discussing confidential information and if you would not say it to your grandmother you probably should not be writing about it.

One of the best policies I’ve read is from the company RightNow.  They used social media policies from Intel, Sun Microsystems and IBM to development theirs.  If possible, try to steer clear of writing it up like a legal document (social media policies for states and cities are like this). 

Notable quote:

“Be real and use your best judgment.”  -Zappos (a one line social media policy)

Link up: 

~100 social media policies from different industries:

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

PMI Madison Professional Development Day 2010

Recently I attended the Madison PMI Professional Development Day at the Monona Terrace. The theme was Going the Distance with Project Management and 2 of the keynote speakers were tri-athletes.

I attended many excellent talks and here are my thoughts on them.

First was key note speaker: Sarah Reinertsen.  At the age of 7 Sarah had her left leg amputated due to proximal femoral focal deficiency in a hope to improve her quality of life.  Sarah went through her personal timeline from that point forward to when she crossed the finish line of the Ironman in Hawaii where she finished in 15 hours and 5 minutes.

Lessons Learned: even if you loose your leg the project must go on.

Next I attended a talk titled: Measuring the value of a PMO – The PMO Scorecard: by Tom Mochal; 
Link to the presentation
Tom’s key points about PMO score cards were that you should pick items for it that match up to the goals of your company and that you should tie them into the performance of your project managers. 

Lesson Learned:  monitor your PMO and your PMs.

Next I was off to a talk titled: Introducing Agile to an Organization Through Projects – Experience Report: By Luis Murgas
Link to presentation

Luis wants you to answer 3 questions before you jump into an Agile method of software development.

  1. Are your software development projects on time?
  2. Does your software do all of the things you requested at the beginning of the project?
  3. Do people like your current methodologies for developing software?

If you answered no to these then an Agile methodology may be for you.  You should not just turn all of your projects over to an agile method.  Start with one project, be successful with it and do it again and again until someone notices.

Lesson Learned:  This agile thing isn’t going away so we better embrace it.

At lunch Mark Allen a +15 year tri athlete who has competed in 12 triathlons and has won 6 of them went through his career of competing in the Ironman in Hawaii.

Lesson learned:  Are you willing to give 100% on your project even if the goal looks impossible?
Then I was off to a talk titled: Leveraging New Social Media Relationship tools in project management by Wendy Soucie
Link to presentation

Wendy’s main take home point was that you need to develop a social media policy at your office.  Mayo Clinic has their policy available for download.

Lesson Learned:  This social media thing is not going away so we better plan for it, control it and embrace it.

Finally I ended the day with a talk titled: The changing world of work – what it means to PMs and their companies by Wayne Turmel

Wayne took us through the latest ways virtual teams are being assemble and suggested some tools to use.  Wayne ended with an eye opening story about his 14 year old daughter a cheerleader.  Her cheer team made it to the next round of a competition and they had 1 week to come up with a new routine.  The planning  happened in his living room.  Only half the team could make it, but within 1 hour the girls had downloaded the new songs, shot a video of the new moves, posted it to youtube and sent out a text message to the missing team members with a link to the new routine so they could practice.

Lesson Learned:  Gen Y is ready to roll over the Boomers with technology to get the project done!