Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Project Management with Facebook

What's the most important thing about managing a project? Building the perfect schedule of tasks or the interpersonal communication necessary to execute that schedule? We hear time and time again how important notifications are to give everyone situational awareness. Email is good, but lacks the immediacy an instant message. It's important to let people know as soon as possible when they've been assigned a task and even more powerful to let people know when their task is ready. We've seen this trend over the years with our products, whether they be running in Groove, MS Project or SharePoint. Today we'd like to offer one more option-- IntelliGantt for Facebook.

Why Facebook as infrastructure for project management? Because after the technical aspects of laying out a schedule and allocating resources, the real issue is keeping people engaged on whatever device they are running and by any means necessary! Facebook just so happens to be the world's greatest social network so the synergy is incredibly appealing. We believe Facebook can be an excellent platform for both your business and personal projects-- especially as these two worlds continue to merge. Prepare yourself for the first screenshot of IntelliGantt for Facebook!

OK, while this screenshot looks a little underwhelming, what it demonstrates is very powerful-- robust user authentication. IntelliGantt for Facebook works with Facebook's user authentication system to make sure a user is indeed who they say they are. Even more importantly, it makes sure the people you invite to the project are who they say they are as well. Given that over 1 billion people (and growing) use Facebook, there's an excellent chance the people you need to collaborate on a project are already there. No need to import from Notes to SharePoint via Active Directory anymore.

Just click on the configuration 'cog' right next to PEOPLE and all your Facebook friends appear. We know not everyone will be participating in your projects, so select the folks you want to work with. Once selected, they are available to assign to tasks in the plans you create.

Now what happens when you assign a person to a task? It would be nice to let people know about these things, right? Here's where the value of the Facebook infrastructure begines to shine.

Again at first glance this screenshot looks terribly normal. However, notice the lower left of the picture. Facebook let's you know that a task has been assigned to you. IntelliGantt taps into Facebooks incredibly rich notification system in order to make this assignment very visible. Even better, it will appear on any dekstop, laptop or tablet you use Facebook with. Plus, it's a 'push' notification in that, if you have Facebook up and running, you will receive these notifications moments after the assignment as occurred with visual and audio queues.

Another great time to use Facebook's notification system is when a task assigned to you is ready to work. This is done by building upon a staple of traditional project management-- the task dependency. Basically if someone completes a predecessor task, IntelliGantt will see if anyone is assigned to its successor and, if so, send out a notification that the task is ready for you. When they click on the Facebook notification the user will be swiftly carried to the waiting task.

This is a great example of the synergy between project management and social applications. We will be looking for more exiting ways to use Facebook notifications and messaging in the future to aid in project management communication. Of course, a project manager would also like to have powerful tools at their disposal to plan and react. Things like multi-level undo, multiple assignments, multiple task dependencies, side-by-side swimlane comparisons for resource loading and more. We will be outlining these in a series of posts as well.

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