There are a bunch of new technologies and products out there that can have, in my opinion, a really big impact on Project Management as a profession. They are Weblogs, RSS and what I call "low impact" knowledge management tools. (This will be a multipart series of posts.)
Weblogs are a technology/tool that almost all PMs should at least explore on two levels: information source and project communications tool.
Up until about 2 months ago I had almost completely stopped using the Internet as a source of information about PM. I was stuck in a rut of checking the same few sites for new papers. There were a few that I liked and did a good job of giving me info: Niwot Ridge for one was very good
but even places like Gantthead seemed to just be giving me advertisements made up to look like articles and whitepapers. It should be noted that I have since visited Gantthead and found that the impression I originally stated here was very much mistaken. I feel now that I formed this opinion from WAY back in 1999 (when I last spent any real time there and the few times I went back I must have hit the wrong articles and they just reinforced my false impression) and things have obviously changed. Gantthead is certainly worth your time to check out. I felt like I was missing out. Then I installed NewsGator and found a few sites like Frank Patrick's blog. I started checking out their blogrolls and BAM. It was like turning a corner. There are a bunch of people out there blogging project management topics and they are all scary smart.
Reading a good WebLog is like getting to see what is inside the head of an expert that you usually only get to hear talk for an hour at a conference. If they are good at blogging and really do it well their blog is like a record of their thoughts and opinions on the subject. They change and evolve and get influenced by other bloggers on related topics. Reading blogs lets you read opinions of people you would not ever have thought about including in your scope of thought.
PM has been changing and adding concepts and knowledge so quickly it is hard to keep up. Blogs, in my opinion, are THE way that we as a profession will be able to keep up.
So the first call to arms here is this: go get an RSS reader (NewsGator, Bloglines, Feedster) and start looking for Project Management blogs. I have a list of a few of my favorites on www.projectified.com but you can also search Technorati or Feedster to find others. THEN after you have read a few blogs and see what they are about go and start one of your own. I use TypePad and it costs about $5 a month but there are free ones out there like Blogger and BlogSpot You have something to say about PM. You have experience that is unique. Share it with us and let us learn from it!
Part II of the Call to Arms will be for PMs to use WebLogs as a Project Team communications tool.