The Impact of Social Media on Project Management

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In this week’s episode of Project Management Paradise, Johnny speaks with John Chapman, program director at Touchstone Group based in London, UK about “The impact of social media on project management”.


John is an expert in national and international projects, a proclaimed author and keynote speaker as well as his role as project director.

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Excerpts from Episode 47 -“The impact of social media on project management” with John Chapman

As mentioned John is a programme director for Touchstone Group in London, a leading supplier of business solutions such as financial spend control software, document management software and business intelligence software to mid-market organisations. But how did he get to where he is now? John started out 30 years ago in software development before then moving into project and programme management, gaining a particular interest in the psychological side of project management!

John believes that projects are about people and you need to understand those involved in the project to get the best out of the team! He feels that you need to recognize everyone as being different and then come up with a suitable way to engage and work with them effectively. The project team are not the people involved in a project however, with retaining stakeholder support from the start of a project until such a time as it goes live also an important aspect.

John is author to two books (Kafka, Pulp Fiction, Beer and projects) and (Project and Programme accounting: A Practical Guide for Professional Services Organisations and IT), while contributing to another three books during his career so far.

The impact of social media on project management:
When asked how he got interested in the area of social media and its importance to PPM, John explains that his first major interaction was reading a book called Socialnomics by Eric Qualman while he was on holidays. After reading the book with a new-found interest, he watched a YouTube video on the same topic and explains he had an epiphany of sorts, saying to himself “this will change project and portfolio management”.

Knowing that social media was a phenomenon that would disrupt the way things are currently carried out, John felt he needed to figure out how to best make use of it and what people will want. He goes on to state that people/organizations now come to purchase software knowing what is available in terms of features and functionality, alternative options and with the rise of platforms such as LinkedIn, they can also build a profile on who we are as individuals.

“What happens in Vegas stays on YouTube”. Chapman believes social media is changing the way we think asking listeners to consider if your mother was watching everything you do, would you change your behaviour? We have to remember; the world is watching facilitated through the medium of social media!

Everything is visible, it has never been easier to find out information about organizations and even individuals, from what we do to how we do it. We need to be aware that this information is freely available, understand it and if necessary change our current behaviours.

During the podcast, there are a number of references to millennials and Generation Z and their tendency to prefer more engaging and dynamic content. Chapman points out that if he were to write up a 100-page manual, there is a distinct possibility it won’t be read, leading to the search for other options such as YouTube videos for example. There is a statement that Generation Z, as a group, spend on average 3 hours per day watching video online, and they prefer texting to talking, just look at the success of snapchat among that demographic. Attention spans are also important – look at the 140-character limit on Twitter for example, your message needs to be punchy and to the point with John suggesting each message needs to be comparable to an elevator pitch!

The medium of video is on a constant rise, Facebook’s live streaming feature is seen as a game changer, with Twitter now also giving the ability to live stream directly after starting out with Periscope. YouTube is now the second most popular search engine in the world with over 3 billion searches a month, and growing, showing the need for organizations to post their information in video and interactive format. John suggests that people like to see and hear us with the senior team looking to get their information in an engaging 30-second video.

John suggests that we should ask ourselves everyday – “what do I have to differently today?”

Tips for videos:
Chapman provides the listeners with a number of tips for creating and sharing video content online.

  • Practice and practice, using the selfie feature on smartphones, practice talking for 30 seconds without hesitation, deviation or repetition, the dreaded “emm”.
  • Think about who you are talking to, if a CEO is your target audience, you need to come across in a professional manner where as if it is to a friend, a softer approach is more applicable.
  • Think about your look, make sure your tie is not contrasting for example, look up to avoid the appearance of a double chin!
  • Make sure there is not too much happening in the background and the surroundings are quiet.
  • Watch the news for ideas on how to present e.g. wait 1-3 seconds before speaking.

Show Notes

If you wish to contact John, you can reach him on LinkedIn or Twitter.

John’s writing
– Author of Kafka, Pulp Fiction, Beer and projects, ISBN 978-1787230545

– Author of Project and Programme accounting: A Practical Guide for Professional Services Organisations and IT

– A member of the authoring group of the Gower Handbook of Programme Management

– Author of a series of YouTube educational video podcasts

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