Using new social task management tools – While enterprise social networking (ESN) software that helps people collaborate on projects has soared in popularity in recent years, it hasn’t been particularly great at project management roles like assigning and tracking goals. And now since workers are increasingly participating in projects that utilize wikis, blogs and specialized social media tools, ESN software hasn’t been sufficient for some organizations.

Social Task Management

social task management

Image courtesy of Wikicommons

That’s why there’s been a growing demand for a new generation of task management tools oriented around Social Task Management (STM). These new software tools combine enterprise social networking features with functions with project planning, tracking and supervising functions.

The rise in popularity is due in large part to the fact that many of the tools and processes that organizations currently use for project management were created years ago and lack the collaboration features that are common in today’s enterprise social networking platforms, said Alan Lepofsky, VP and principal analyst of Constellation Research, who created a study on STM software.

“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,” Lepofsky said. “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.”

While there have been sophisticated project management applications designed for team leaders and other products designed for individuals to track their work tasks, STM products look to combine the two. They incorporate social collaboration features popularized by ESN products, yet don’t focus primarily on these social interactions.

“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 serve both team leaders and project participants in a way that is more intuitive than legacy project management tools and more powerful and collaborative than traditional applications.

Lepofsky says Podio, a startup that was acquired by Citrix, is an effective STM solution, in InformationWeek.  It may not be as high-profile as IBM Connections, but it’s a social software platform where task management can be organized through user-defined apps he says. Yet IBM has been ahead of the trend with its Connections ESN product that has STM components.

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 in InformationWeek 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.

Chandler Harris
Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer based in Silicon Valley and contributor at He has written for Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO,, U.S. Banker and the San Jose Business Journal.
Chandler Harris
Tags: Business,Productivity
  • Andrea Francis

    It is exciting times for those in the social collaboration market, although I had expected people to adopt it much faster into their working lives over the past few years. We’re one of the new faces in the field, adopting Twitter-like language as an organizational language for managing team collaboration. People’s familiarity with Twitter makes it really easy to learn and also understandable to them. Take a look for yourself – it’s free!