March 31, 2010, 7:23 AM — by Ty Kiisel
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." -- Sir Isaac Newton
Considered one of the most influential men in human history, Newton's contributions to science include his theories of universal gravitation, the first practical reflecting telescope, along with the study of white light and the speed of sound. Newton's theories remain singularly influential to scientists today.
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In Newton's day, collaboration was problematic at best. Personal correspondence took days, or even weeks. Despite the difficulty, Newton acknowledged the information shared with his peers and mentors. Fortunately, the advent of social media allows us to almost instantaneously create personal and professional relationships with peers and potential mentors.
Social media provides a wealth of experiential-based knowledge that is freely shared with anyone willing to ask. I believe this type of knowledge sharing is critical as more and more organizations look to project management best practices to increase efficiency -- yet turn to "accidental" project managers (those who may be lacking in formal project management training), for project execution. In fact, I'm convinced that social media, and the availability of industry thought-leaders willing to collaborate and mentor, can play a vital role in building up project management knowledge in many organizations.
Joining the community and participating is really very simple:
- Start following Project Managers on Twitter (hashtag #pmot). It's a great place to get acquainted with other project managers using social media to learn and share.
- Join one of the several project management groups on Linked in and start participating.
- Spend a few minutes each morning to read and comment on your favorite blogs. Participating in the conversation is a great way to contribute to the community yourself.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions -- you might be surprised who will step up to answer.
- Be patient. Before too long you'll be participating and building relationships with peers from all over the world.
Social media provides an excellent vehicle for fostering communities of best practice while exposing project managers to a framework of experience, collaboration, and the type of knowledge that is best obtained by exposure to working project managers. This type of learning requires informal contact and a willingness to share information -- a perfect use of social media.
Ty Kiisel writes about project management issues and best practices for @task Project Management Software.