Chandler Harris: How Social Task Management Tools Rock

Social task management is where it’s at. Here’s why. – Enterprise social networking (ESN) software lets multiple people work on projects together. That’s why it’s been such a hit. But ESN is behind the eight ball for project tracking and other typical project management tasks that today’s projects need. For blogs, wikis and specialized social media tools across the board, ESN software is no longer sufficient for many organizations. Enter social task management — aka STM.

Social Task Management

STM comprises a new wave of management tools that combine ESN features with more-practical functions for today — like project planning, tracking and supervising functionality.

Social Task Management Image

Alan Lepofsky, VP and principle analyst of Constellation Research, created a study on STM software. “The rise in popularity is due in large part to the fact that many of the tools … were created years ago and … lack the collaboration features that are common in today’s enterprise social networking platforms.”

It’s been exciting to watch this market emerge, as social task management tools provide organizations a solid use case for getting their employees to use social networking,” he adds. “Now teams can easily manage all the tasks and associated content across all the projects they are working on so that everyone can benefit from and contribute to the information.”

STM products aim to combine advanced project management applications made for team leaders with products designed for individuals who track their work tasks. STMs utilize the social collaboration attributes made popular by ESN products, but are not focused on the social interactions specifically.

“Yes, there’s definitely a trend there. It’s an emerging category,” said Rob Koplowitz, research analyst for Forrester Research.

STM products are often designed to to be more intuitive than legacy project management tools and more powerful and collaborative than traditional applications. The best of both worlds, catered toward team leaders and individuals.

In InformationWeek, Lepofsky said Podio, a startup Citrix acquired, is an effective STM solution.

Podio is not as high-profile as IBM Connections, but rather it’s a social software platform where task management is organized through user-defined apps.

Yet IBM has been ahead of the trend. Its ESN Connections product has STM components — and a great deal of functionality as a result.

Other examples include VMware’s launch of an enterprise social task management tool called Strides in 2011, which was integrated with its Socialcast ESN suite. Last April it evolved into a new Socialcast component called Projects. Also, in 2011, released a similar product called Do.

For firms interested in social task management, Lepofsky recommends that they start by looking at their existing portfolio of collaboration products, which may already have STM features. Or, if they are interested in purchasing STM products, look for those that can integrate with an existing social collaboration platform. He suggests that the prime candidates for use of STM include engineering, product development and marketing groups.

Images courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Based in Silicon Valley, Chandler Harris is a senior editor at He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer’s Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, and the San Jose Business Journal.