Software has created unprecedented opportunities for the project manager. There are new applications for project management in almost every industry. In the military, the project manager can use software to synchronize knowledge, strategy, and operations. In the field of information management, the software project manager can coordinate the efforts of many software programmers. Software puts project managers into the center of business. Software projects seem to be everywhere, and you can’t go wrong with software. Software is so successful that project managers have become important players in the corporate world.
But software can be complicated. A project manager had to take his best guess at what to do. Hence, Project management software will not take over the project manager’s job, but it does make it easier to do the work.
As project manager, you often need software to do your job. One of your primary tasks is to keep track of your project: who is doing what, when, why, how much, and so on. Most project managers use some kind of project management software (or, sometimes, none at all). But do you have the right kind? How do you know? Project management software comes in many flavors. Some are useful, some are not. Probably the most common is the spreadsheet. Spreadsheets are useful for keeping lists. But lists of what? There is an important distinction between lists of things and lists of processes. A spreadsheet is usually good for listing things. But spreadsheets are not so good for making them. A spreadsheet is good for keeping track of which tasks have been assigned to whom and when. But spreadsheets are not so good at keeping track of why the tasks were assigned.
A spreadsheet is good for keeping track of how much has been spent so far on each project. But a spreadsheet can make it hard to keep track of what the money was spent on.
A spreadsheet is good for keeping track of when each task is supposed to be done. But a spreadsheet can make it hard to track when each task was actually started. A spreadsheet is good for keeping track of who is supposed to be doing what. But a spreadsheet can make it hard to keep track of who really is doing what. A spreadsheet is good for keeping track of when you are supposed to be doing whatever. But a spreadsheet can make it hard to keep track of if you actually did it. Spreadsheets are great for listing stuff. But they’re not so great for keeping track of stuff. So spreadsheets are not a good project management tool. There are two other types of project management software (or, sometimes, none at all). One is a paper notebook. Notebooks are often useful for keeping track of stuff. But lists on paper are hard to manage. Thus, benefits of project reporting software evince when you want to succeed and reduce operational costs.
Start with end in mind when using project reporting software
A lot of people say project management is part of the problem, not the solution. I disagree.
Project management is often a good thing. In almost all professional situations, project management is easier than doing the work yourself. There, I said it. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t honest. But project management is not always a good thing. In a lot of situations, it is hard or impossible. There are at least two reasons project management is hard. One is that there are a lot of bad project managers. The other problem is that in many organizations, project management is taken for granted, and people just assume it will always work. The bad project managers are usually easy to spot. They bark orders, they micromanage, they intimidate, they demand unrealistic deadlines and unrealistic budgets, and they pretend money grows on trees. They are also usually incompetent.
The bad project managers are a problem, but not the only problem. The problem is also that many people in management positions don’t know how to manage projects. They think they have to micromanage everything, so they can say, “I told you so” later. As we said, project management is easier, and this makes it hard for managers to admit they don’t know how to do it. But project management is hard even when managers know how to do it. One reason is that many projects require new skills or different skills. For example, some projects require people to think in new ways, or to learn new skills, or to use existing skills in a different way. But what often happens is that the people who know how to do those things, the people who know how to do project management, don’t put them to use in new projects. So project managers do the best they can, but they can’t always do it right. The second reason is that project management is hard even when management knows how to do it. A project requires discipline and discipline entails following a plan. Plans are well documented using PMS tools and that’s why you need a software in your business.