Water Cooler ROI Part II - Project Networks Improve Performance

April 22, 2011 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

ImageIn Water Cooler ROI - Putting Social Software to Productive Work I pointed to some terrific research that uncovered the extent to which project work relies on communication (in various mediums) and how digital networks actual enhance productivity (with a 7% increase in one case). More fuel for the fire comes from Why Project Networks Beat Project Teams, a study published in the MIT Sloan Management Review last month.

In a review of 177 teams at one organization, the researchers discovered that the teams demonstrating the highest performance consistently reached out via personal network to more non-core contributors for assistance and knowledge. "Finalists" which were the best performing teams involved an average of 4.5 non-core contributors per core team member, whereas non-Finalists only involved 2.5 non-core contributors per team member. All other key factors such as resources, core team membership churn, and project change orders were equivalent.

This was not a study of teams that use social software or not - but the implication is clear: performance should increase for teams that use a social communication and knowledge management medium capable of (a) consistently sharing information with identified non-core members and even (b) extending visibility of that medium to a wider ring of individuals outside the personal networks of the core team members.

Page Top