Book Title: The Social Project Manager – Balancing Collaboration with Centralised Control in a Project Driven World
Author: Peter Taylor
Publisher: Routledge, a Taylor and Francis Group
List Price: $47.96
Format: Hardback, 200 pages
Publication Date: 2015
Reviewer: Heather Creer-Rygalski, PMP
Review Date: December 2016
Do you tweet, post, chat or blog in your personal life? How about as part of your work life? As a Project Manager you know communication is one of the keys of a successful project outside of some of the obvious other key pieces of a successful project – its timely, within budget and scope without sacrificing quality of the product produced during the project but what about including the social aspect of project management?
Social Project Managers know 21st Century businesses need 21st Century tools to maintain effective communication channels among today’s workforce. How many of you all work on projects with people solely within your country, state or even city? “It is predicted by 2020, the entire office setup will change dramatically.” (pg. 19) Work will no longer be a place that you go to every day, it can happen wherever you are.
Overview of Book’s Structure
Taylor does a great job of introducing the concept of a social project manager, sharing real life examples and expands further by acknowledging there must be a complete buy-in from the top down beginning with HR teaching the concepts to all new hires.
Have you ever worked for companies that claim to have effective open communication on projects? How many of those companies actually do? How many companies out there have too many tools and the employees don’t know which ones to use for each project or some on the team use one of the tools while others on the team use the other tools? How can any project be considered a success when the communication plan has not been fully realized by all team members on the project?
“There is an expectation for Project Managers and their teams to be more accountable, productive and have collaboration when the combination often results in chaos.” (pg. 23) Peter Taylor points out throughout his book that the Social Project Manager needs to get rid of the chaos by “achieving a balance of effective collaboration” (pg. 24). Achievement of the balance is in part from the social project manager refusing to be the roadblock or funnel through which all communication must take place. By agreeing on communication tools as a team, the social project manager encourages the team to collaborate and thereby actually gets more work done.
Some items to keep in mind as a social project manager are to not just trust the social communication only, constantly check on the project’s progress to evaluate what is needed. In addition, organizations need to make the training of the tools part of the new hire orientation process thus promoting and creating a social collaborative culture that enables team members to be creative, productive and contribute to a project purpose. The social project manager builds upon the collaborative culture by “overseeing the progress and interaction of the various resources allocated to the project in such a way that is reduces the risk of overall failures, maximizes potential success and delivers the expected benefits, whilst managing costs and quality.” (pg. 154)
About the Reviewer
Heather Creer-Rygalski, PMP has more than 20 years of experience working in training and development departments both in the corporate arena and within the public school system using her project management training for all of her projects. She has a BA in Psychology and a M.Ed., both from Southwest Texas State University.
Heather can be contacted at email@example.com
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