Selecting the proper project management tools
The project management and resource management survey of 151 IT executives found the most significant challenge to project management administration was using the wrong tools to perform project management processes. (IMTS Survey)
Let’s talk about the basics. Like needing a frying pan to make fried eggs – there are certain basics that every profession requires. When the basics are not “in” then it’s difficult, if not impossible, to achieve consistent results. If a carpenter used the wrong tools to do the job they wouldn’t be a carpenter very long would they? They would be tired and crabby, and their customers would be upset. They wouldn’t be able to cut, fashion and fasten wood together to make houses or furniture. If they could build houses or furniture with the wrong tools, they could not do it consistently, in a timely fashion or with any elegance whatsoever.
It’s the same with IT and project management; wrong tools equal an inconsistent, challenging and rough result with unhappy, overworked staff and dissatisfied customers.
Further digging into the issues around “wrong tools” reveals that most of these tools have common challenges including:
- They are not in use by the entire project team, or they are meant only for the project manager or just for support or DevOps.
- They don’t include information about the other activities of their team members, i.e., support activities, project work or personal calendars.
- They are a challenge for team members to integrate with — just another system to add to their list of systems. Buy-in on system usage then becomes a problem with team members deciding to opt out or provide minimal or spotty compliance.
These factors and other less common cultural or situational factors combine to make the Manager’s job challenging and administrative processes ineffective. When these factors are compounded the team members are scheduled on projects when they don’t have capacity, and impossible timelines are provided to customers. These two mismanaged processes alone can derail an organization; create chaos, cost overruns and impact morale negatively.
When looking for tools for project management and resource management the two topics can’t be easily divorced – then look for the following traits:
- The tool needs to address the bulk of IT work across all of your IT domains. If you have teams for support, development, operations, ERP, tech, networks, data…. However, you break them up you need to include them in the IT work management system.
- Get a tool that delivers the whole picture. There is no sense in deploying a project management tool that doesn’t take into account support activities. The key reason that projects are delayed is the support team itself.
- Adopt a system that your team can integrate with. It’s important to integrate with other systems but, critical to your success is the team’s ability to use the tool.
- ls and get better results. After all – using the carpenter analogy – aren’t tools used to get consistent results quicker?
Entry Software Corporation has been working with Project Managers, IT Managers and CIO’s to not only understand the project and IT administration issues but to be part of the solution to them.
Download the results of our 2014 Survey “Challenges Facing IT Leaders when Managing Planned and Unplanned Work in Disparate Systems.”