May 18, 2004
Plogging for Fun and Profit
You've heard about Blogs (web logs) and possibly even Wikis (collaborative blogs). Both are finding their way behind the firewalls at large companies and law firms. CIO.com just published a provocative article on Plogs (project logs), "The Virtues of Chitchat", by Michael Schrage, codirector of the MIT Media Lab's eMarkets Initiative.
Along the way, he asks:
"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. [,,,] Whether management should explicitly encourage, authorize, endorse or simply allow plogs to emerge is a judgment call best left up to the culture of the company and character of the individuals."If a company wishes to utilize such a tool, he adds:
"Inevitably, companies will need to establish guidelines—legal, ethical, editorial and otherwise—about linking to plogs and who should be able to access them. Formalizing the informal is always risky. In fact, perhaps pushing for plog precepts may undermine the very openness and spontaneity that makes the idea seem so potentially powerful and appealing. But that's the nature of the organizational beast. The simple truth is, many organizations may need plogs to discover their own simple truths about how well (or how poorly) their projects are going."