All professionals know it is important to network. It helps to keep up with the profession, to be aware of developments and new opportunities, and chances for career growth. It can also be very helpful to solve problems that other colleagues have already encountered. So in this era of social networking, where can the best project management networks be found?
Here are some good places to start in finding like-minded professionals in the project management field:
1. Project Management Meetup
This is an interesting crossroads of online and in-person. the idea is to start a local meetup online, and organise a physical place to meet. The web site provides a way for people to initially find one another, but primarily to facilitate face-to-face networking among local professionals. The site gets lots of interest.
2. Google and Yahoo Groups
There are many good and vibrant groups, but also many that are fairly inactive. Just go to Google or Yahoo, select groups, and type “project management.” You will see plenty to choose from. Note that you will see many that are somewhat special interest within the project management field, often based on location or an organisation such as a PMI chapter. The most popular groups are those supporting PMP exam prep, and many swear by the assistance they received on these group sites working their way to PMP certification.
This is a vibrant community in the IT field, which is the focus of the site. There is constant activity here on subjects such as PMP and CAPM certification and earning PDUs. There are also interesting conversation threads in areas such as programme management, project portfolio management, business analysis certification, ITIL, project management career issues, practical problems solving, soft skills, and more.
4. Social Networking Sites Such as HubPages, Squidoo and Facebook
Social networking sites are places that people congregate, and they tend to gravitate to those with common interests. You can find and start your own pages and groups. Go check these out and type in keywords of interest to see what you find.
5. PMI Chapters
These are an old standby, but still very effective. In my experience, meetings are very well attended, and topics interesting and instructive. A benefit is that you can earn PDUs for attending, and that surely helps keep attendance high. But there is nothing like meeting local professionals in person, and giving it your full presence and attention for a little while.
6. Call Groups
Many groups have arisen the past few years that have periodic networking phone calls, combined with an online presence. One such group is PM Lessons Learned
There are many sub-communities that have constant conversations on such topics related to project management in telecommunications, project portfolio management, certification, tools, and much more. Average community size is in the hundreds. There are not only opportunities to network on common interests and collaborate with others to solve some of your problems, but also to build an online network by connecting with individuals, as with LinkedIn below.
This has been around for a while, but seems to have experienced a resurgence recently. While professionals have for some time been able to connect and build a network online, the emergence of special interest groups, such as project management, has facilitated broadening networks much faster than simply getting to know others through those who already know you. At this time, you cannot search for groups, but can review the list of existing groups to see if any are of interest.
The interesting thing about all of this is that it is mostly virtual! A few years ago, most PM networking would surely be more oriented toward in-person events and meetings. Today, however, the opportunity to develop strong and vibrant relationships across the web is a very exciting and powerful development.
For more detail and links directly to places for Project Managers to network, see John Reiling’s post 8 Big Spots for Project Managers to Network. John Reiling is a PMP and also has an online training web site Project Management Training Online.
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