As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am currently involved in a large project, contracted to a company in the manufacturing industry. I spend a lot of my time sitting in meetings, talking to people who are subject matter experts in a particular area. The wealth of experience that people bring to the project team is something to be treasured. In the world of Social Business this is often referred to as 'human capital'. The value that these people bring to the project is substantial.

Even though, people come offering great skills and experience, on their own, the project would quickly go down the path of failure. However, with each person working as part of a greater team and the correct project management and place, the project is well positioned for success. To ensure success, communication and collaboration become absolutely vital.

On large projects people come and go throughout various stages. Except for two or three key people, very few will be there for the entire project. When new people begin to engage, it is really important to be able to connect them with subject matter experts within other knowledge domains. It's also important, that they are able to identify other experts, even though those experts may no longer be on the project.

Using an online community via a social business platform, I find myself recommending that people quickly connect with each other. The other day, somebody asked me for assistance with the installation of some specialised software. The request came to me via e-mail. In days gone by, I would have forwarded this e-mail to the organisation who had developed the software. But in this case, I was able to connect them within the online community. Now, they are having conversations and solving real problems through the use of enterprise social media. In the past, there would have been a long stream of emails, most of which would've been hard to track. In this case, the communication and collaboration is clearly visible to all of the community participants. As a result of the transparency by having most of the information openly available to the greater project team, people are constantly discovering information and a real-time fashion.

One of the complaints that I hear the most within any organisation, has to be in regards to the lack of communication. It frustrates the heck out of people. Everyone knows exactly what I am talking about. A lot of this is due to most organisations working in a siloed fashion. The silos exist for quite a number of reasons. In regards to my current project, the greatest reason would be that members of the project team work for several independent vendors. The challenge, is to bring each person together while breaking down traditional barriers to effective communication and collaboration.