Social Project Management in Large Projects

Bruce Henry | June 23, 2008

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This is in response to a couple of posts and comment streams about Social Project Management. The first was Joseph Thornley’s post Social Project Management: Everything is Small Again which was excerpted by the ZDNet ProjectFailures blog. All of this was kicked off by Leisa Reichelt’s presentation Social Project Management: Everything Small is Big Again at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. Reading Thornley’s post is worthwhile as it distills Reichelt’s slides into a list. Here are the original slides…

I think it is misleading to say that social project management breaks down on large projects. All project management is more difficult on large projects. The social of it has little to do with the breakdown.

The promise of social project management comes from acknowledging that projects (particularly large projects) are a social activity. People doing work with people, for other people, with commitments to yet other people. The more people (i.e. larger projects), the more interpersonal interactions, the more social effects inside of the project.

In other words, the larger the project, the more important that you acknowledge and embrace the social interactions. Perhaps, dare I say it, even facilitate social interaction.

Software, particularly project management software, has tremendous potential for facilitating social interaction within a project. But if you ask most users they will tell you that their project management software does more to get in the way of successful social interaction than to facilitate it.

In part 2 of this post I’ll list out the main points of the issues and examine them in detail.

(continued in Part 2…)