Project Practitioners > It's a Small, Small World, Part II

It's a Small, Small World, Part II

By Lisa DiTullio

Squirrel-jpLast month, I identified five common project management challenges in business today.  Last month, I talked about how PMO's continue to get a bad rap.  Today, let's talk about our insatiable appetite for project management tools. 

Project managers love tools and templates.  Like squirrels during the fall in Boston, I see many project managers busily stockpiling tools for the winter.  I wonder, what can one PM do with so many tools?

Remember, successful project management is not about the tools.  It is not even about the content of the tools.  It is about thinking, acting, and managing the factors that will determine the project’s success. 

The best toolkits tend to be those which contain only a few tools.  Too many complicated tools will distract the project manager from what he or she should be doing.  The most successful tools are those created to address a specific need and are likely to last, regardless of project transformation.  Tools designed to prevail in spite of project complexity will hold the most value. Develop or acquire tools to eliminate a problem, not simply support a process.  Employ tools that can demonstrate long-term value.  In other words, the simple tools that meet your needs when your projects were “simple” and can still be employed when projects become “complex” are best.

Over the past few years, many organizations have turned to enterprise project management software to solve their inability to deliver successful projects.  On the surface, this may appear to be a viable solution.  The enterprise systems have the ability to produce extensive data regarding project status, risk, financials, and other elements.  However, in the absence of a solid, dependable project management methodology, the software’s bells and whistles cannot produce project success.  Unless project managers have become proficient in such activities as project planning, resource estimation, risk management, budget management and change scope management, the data entered into any tool is flawed.  Bad data in means bad data out, regardless of how fancy the tool may be.  The key to success is using this simple equation:

Solid Processes + Appropriate Level of Software Functionality = Success

Too many tools?  Put them out for the squirrels.

Lisa DiTullio, Founder, Your Project Office,

Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

Hi Lisa!

My name is Paul and I work for a small IT company. I totally agree with your post! I’m project manager and I need an easy and complete tool for project management. I looked for the best for a long time and finally I found doolphy. I want to recommend it because it helps me every day. I think I don’t waste my time at unnecessary things and I concentrate on the project :)



Nice article for those little squirrels that don't watch out for those bad cars.

I agree with your thoughts on selecting tools. I've always started with a user requirement document to identify stakeholder/user needs. I like this phrase - "I've discovered the solution, now what was the problem".

EPM software have their place in a global project environment to oversee the entire portfolio. But there must be a need.



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