Musings on personal and enterprise technology (of potential interest to professional technoids and others)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Should Project Managers Twitter?

Some interesting observations from the gantthead blogs about the potential relevance of Twitter to Project Managers:

Why Project Managers Should Twitter: "How many times have you heard that project management is all about communication? Communicating with your team is important, but so is communication with the outside world... you should at least become familiar with Twitter..."

I agree that PM's should become familiar with Twitter... However, the decision for any specific project would of course depend on the audience, sensitivity of the information being transmitted, overall environment and expectations of the customer, etc...

For those of us (including current or aspiring PMP's and CAPM's) familiar with the Project Management Institute's PMBOK, this basic issue is addressed as part of the Project Communications Management knowledge area, e.g. the Communications Planning process, for which the PMI observes that it is critical both to:

  1. Identify stakeholder information requirements, and
  2. Determine a "suitable means" to address those requirements.
Twitter may not be the most "suitable means" to communicate for all projects, but certainly could be effective and appropriate for some. For example, it would be out of the question to even consider Twitter for sensitive projects/customers (e.g. military or defense-related). Tweets are fully visible to anyone (even without a Twitter account!). However, Twitter could be both appropriate and effective if the project does not focus on proprietary or sensitive information and customer staff are already familiar with Twitter (e.g. if the customer's core business is the communications / public-relations field).

Similarly, there could be situations in which the risk of not communicating by Twitter is much greater than doing so. Think of an emergency natural-disaster evacuation scenario in which affected parties need to receive extremely urgent information... Some of them may be accessing Twitter on a very regular basis, but their cellphone number for SMS might not be functioning at that particular moment.

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