I've spoken many times in this blog about the various subject matter experts a Project Manager will work with on web initiatives. From Information Designers to System Architects, each team member will bring a unique and deep skill set to the table. While a Project Manager will work closely with these people, the Project Manager themselves remains on the periphery of each contribution, overseeing scope and time lines without necessarily doing the actual work. In order to continue adding value to each account, however, it is important for a PM to stay current with technology and trends - something I call 'keeping up with the geeks'. In this blog, I will share my personal approach to keeping up with the latest and greatest technologies and trends.
Buddy up: The best way to stay current is to rub elbows with the people who live and breathe technology. One of my closest colleagues is Steve Giles, the finest geek I know. Steve is continually sharing links and articles on emerging applications and technologies. I click on every link he sends me and follow-up on the things that I find most interesting. I also have long chats with Steve about what he thinks will have impact and what will never see the light of day. I learn a tremendous amount from him because he is my personal subject matter expert for all things technical. So, my advice is buddy up with a geek who will keep you close to breaking tech news. You'll be amazed at what you learn. If nothing else, at least you'll be able to nod intelligently when someone begins speaking in techno-babble at the lunch table.
Read: There are hundreds of online tech/ internet magazines that offer free subscriptions to their e-newsletters. Sign-up for email or RSS feeds from sites such as ZDNet to receive regular updates. If you're reading this entry, you already know that blogs are also great sources of information, and many often explain more complex concepts in understandable terms. Check out Tech Blog for articles that discuss technology and how it impacts the business world. This is a particularly good source for Project Managers who want to stay current on IT and business.
Following these pointers will really help a PM who wants to keep up with the geeks. Geeks are our friends and they have a lot to offer - embrace them! If you're a PM who is a geek, even better! Just remember to share your knowledge with the other Project Managers you may work with. Staying on top of technology that changes this quickly is daunting - in the name of team work and commeraderie, help one another keep up. It will go a long way towards our contributions at the lunch table...