Down and dirty communication

the tower of babelI've been enjoying Glen Alleman's rants about the proponents of "project management 2.0."  He sees them as getting the equation completely wrong, particularly when considering project-related communication.  His version of communication is not a status update.  Here's his description from PM 2.0 ≠ Agile, But What Is PM 2.0?:

Communication - at least as it occurs on projects - is about the personal, one-on-one, or many one-on-a-small-few exchange of ideas in a multidimensional context sensitive manner.

So, great, this seems reasonable.  People need to talk to each other, right?  The PM 2.0 proponents want to add social software to the mix.  Glen is concerned, however, that the promotion of social media is to the detriment of what really needs to happen in projects:

You know, hand waving, grabbing the marker, talking over people, digging out working examples of code, hardware, firmware, drawings. Grabbing the marker back. Going outside and pointing to the things you want people to connect with. Like the flying machine sitting on the ramp ready to go and exclaiming "see that, that's what I mean by integrated product team work."

I just love this, and it is exactly what has to happen in projects in order to successfully push projects along.  Providing your colleagues a list of actions from a project is one thing, but getting in there and talking to them about how it is going, what is keeping things from moving, how can you help - these are all things that have to be done more live and in person than via software.  I've participated in projects where these conversations happen, and I have participated in projects where they don't - the tools don't necessarily add or subtract from this capability.

[Photo: "the tower of babel" by yui kobo]

1 Comment(s)

I've also been enjoying Alleman's postings on what Web 2.0 because of his hype busting. Too many fields were quick to jump on the 2.0 bandwagon and now you have a mass of consultants who push the myth that sprinkling a little social networking technology on a problem will solve everything. The training field has especially been victim to this with the project management coming in a close second.

Thankfully there is a counter-revolution in the rise of "evidence-based" practices. It seems like such an obvious idea to use academic research to inform practice but you would be surprised how that is not the case. When you read "The Halo Effect" and "The Management Myth" you realize just how many fields' body of knowledge rests upon mutually-agreed myths and outdated rules of thumb.

Evidence-based practices are not receiving a warm reception because many consultants don't want to have the curtain pulled back on their wizard show.

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