I’ve been curating a weekly list of articles related to project management published on the web during the prior week for over a year now. I decided it would be a potentially valuable contribution to the blogosphere, and it would give me a reason to read every week. I didn’t realize when I started how much reading I’d do, but I’m enjoying it tremendously. Earlier today, after finishing this week’s list, I realized that I’d never really said anything about what I’m looking for, and how I find it. For writer and readers alike, I thought that might be useful information. After all, you might want to do something similar, either for your own blog, or for your own reading.
I use three primary tools to gather likely articles: Google Reader, Google Alerts, and Twitter. Each has its merits and flaws, but taken together, they net me more than enough useful material, week after week.
- Google Reader is an RSS subscription reader. I simply plug in the RSS feed URL for any sites I want to monitor, and unread items are gathered for each site. I add feeds all the time, but it seems like the same fifteen or so sites generate most of the traffic each week. Stalwarts like PM Hut, Projects at Work, and Gantt Head are essentially on-line magazines, each for a different project manager audience. Practitioner bloggers publish irregularly, but in any given week, I find at least thirty to fifty posts to read. I also monitor a variety of consulting firm sites that publish less often, but generally have something interesting to say when they do.
- Google Alerts allow me to scan across the web for occurrences of a specific phrase, like “project management professional” or “PMBOK.” This lets me find sources I would never think to look for, including news articles from all kinds of sources, world-wide.
- Twitter is useful, primarily for checking on what the other project management practitioner bloggers are writing, reading, and commenting on. It’s a rare day I don’t see a reference to several articles or blog posts. Of course, there’s also a lot of drivel, but you could say as much about any source.
As I identify articles, I read them, identify those of general (or specific) interest, capture the URL, and write one of my pithy descriptions. I don’t keep track, but I’d guess I include maybe 30% of what I find in the weekly list. Some of the stuff I find is just poorly written, or factually questionable, or just rants with no socially redeeming value. Over the course of a week, I assemble these bits when I have time, and on Sunday afternoon, I compile the list, scheduling it for publication at 9:00 PM, Pacific time.
Naturally, I take feedback from readers. You can comment on the posts, or you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Several bloggers have called my attention to their articles, and I now follow their sites via Google Reader, and added two to my Blogroll. I’ve also gotten tips from colleagues, and even a few from groups on LinkedIn. So, if you see an article or blog post you want me to read, let me know about it. And most of all, thanks for taking the time to read it!