How to use employee project management software for business
Project management software has divided reputation. It’s not because it’s complicated, it’s because people use it badly. People hate projects. They think projects take too much time, are too expensive, and generally suck. They hate them so much that 65% of people on projects quit within five years.
But project managers hate projects too. They hate them for the same reasons, but for a different reason. They hate projects so much because they’ve seen other people use projects badly. Project managers hate projects because they’ve seen teams waste months on pointless meetings, arguing about everything. They hate projects because they’ve seen people work long hours without getting anything done. They hate projects because they’ve seen people spend weeks building the wrong thing, only to find out later that what they needed was completely different.
Projects work okay if everyone on the team is on the same page. But most teams aren’t. Most people think in one way, and they think in one way only. They don’t think in the way that engineers do, or in the way that business analysts do, or in the way that managers do. A project can’t help teams work the way they need. That’s why most projects fail. But projects really can work if they let the people involved manage themselves. A project should create space for people to try out new things. It should help teams discover what they need to know.
But a project can’t do that unless the team figures out what it needs to know and works together to find it. We can make it easier. We can start by helping teams learn what they need to know. That’s the job of a project. Using employee project management software saves you the time and effort.
Employees don’t think in terms of projects. They think in terms of jobs, and jobs are about solving problems. They don’t think of problems as projects. Projects are a method of organizing work. They work especially well for large projects, but you don’t have to do them that way. You can use a project to organize any job, and that is sufficient. Projects can make you more effective. But they don’t make you more effective at solving problems.
The essence of a project is that its parts don’t have to do what they are supposed to do. A project’s job is to bring parts together so they will know what to do. Projects can work well, but you have to know what you are doing. As you get bigger, projects become harder to manage, and more important, because they also cause a lot of people to get fired. A project’s job is to make your job easier, but you don’t get that benefit unless you understand how the project works.
What is the best way to use employee project management software in a business?
There is no good answer. Management by committee is a really bad idea. But you also have to be able to manage by initiative, and that can’t happen if it’s driven by a committee.
I think the answer is a mixture. You have to make decisions, but you need to be aware of the possible consequences. If you are the person who makes the decision, you obviously need to be aware; but if the decision is in the hands of a committee, you also need to be informed. For example, if you are designing a new computer chip, you want the chips to be small, and you want them to run fast. So you want smaller transistors and a faster clock speed. But you also want the chip to be reliable. So you want bigger transistors and a longer time between failures.
But you can’t have both. Sometimes you can’t make both. If you make too many of them, you can’t fit them all on the chip. If you make them too small, they get burned up. And if they run too fast, you burn up the ones you make. It’s the same with missionaries. Sometimes you can’t make both. Sometimes people won’t listen. You need to know which you can make. And you need to know what the consequences are of making them. You need to weigh the benefit against the cost. You can’t necessarily predict what the consequences will be, but you do need to be aware that they are possible. You can’t be paralyzed by not knowing. You need to know that things can go wrong, but you also have to be aware that things can go right. And you need to know which they are.
You need to decide. But you also need to be informed.