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January 25, 2005

Blogging and (IT) Project Management

As Case rolls out its enterprise blog, I am asked more times than not, what will it be used for. In the first couple weeks we've seen almost a hundred different bloggers use the capacity for personal use, course adaptation, technical demonstrations, for sharing research, and even keeping in touch during semester abroad.

From the vantage point of the "enterprise", namely the operations of the University, one of the most significant opportunities for the Blog@Case is its use as an instrument for project management sharing. Of course, the concept of an open log of group communication around a project or common interest is as old as communication itself. Usenet and BBS were early technology efforts modeled after chatting around the water cooler. Project Logs (Plogs) are now common place. Indeed, Jeremy Smith's blog on the roll out Blog@Case is a great example of a Plog in action.

Michael Schrage is codirector of the MIT Media Lab's eMarkets Initiative (schrage@ media.mit.edu). Six months ago, he wrote an interesting column in CIO Magazine on the "Virtues of ChitChat" in which he proposed the value of blogs in support of project management for initiatives like an ERP deployment.

"Why wouldn't it make sense for an IT project manager to post a blog—or "plog" (project log)—to keep her team and its constituents up-to-date on project issues and concerns? Is it inherently inappropriate for an individual to post constructive observations about a project's progress? IT organizations that can effectively use blogs as managerial tools (or communication resources) are probably development environments that take both people and their ideas seriously.... Frankly, if I were involved in an ERP rollout, I would be genuinely interested in accessing the blog of a user who actually had to cope with the implementation. His comments would likely have a salutary effect on me."

The intriguing proposition around blogs in general and blog use for project management in particular is the challenge it represents to "command and control" management approaches. Blog journalism has challenged the authority of the traditional sources and fountains of truth for public information consumption. Blogs have challenged corporate cultures and the "right to assert a monopoly" over the brand of the corporation.

At Case, our University's bold vision is to encourage reflection on how we have evolved our culture and how we might shape it in the future. Thoughtful and reflective use of blogs for project management is one small way we can contribute to that effort. ITS uses the blog technology for all of its communication efforts and news dissemination strategies. The Blog@Case roll out has been shared. The roll out of Sympa to a slightly less degree has also rolled out with significant public sharing of the opportunities and even some of the challenges.

As ITS rolls out its projects and services offering, I have encouraged our management team to use the Blog@Case as space to not only share the "official" communications but to also consider using the Blog for updates for the community on "work in progress" and its many iterations post-implementation. I look forward to seeing if we get an uptake.

Posted by lsg8 at January 25, 2005 08:40 AM and tagged Bytes 

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