Author: Mike Taylor

Turn Project Chaos Into Success, On Your Terms

The Chaotic State of Project Management Today

Despite the proliferation of project management technologies over the past 10 years, the low adoption of collaboration and project management solutions is truly astounding. Sure, many people have access to tools, such as SharePoint, Microsoft Project, or third-party software as a service (SaaS) tools (e.g., Basecamp, eRooms, etc.), but project management chaos still exists in many organizations. Where is the disconnect?

Common Approaches and Why They Fail

There are two common approaches that organizations usually take when it comes to implementing and managing collaboration and project management technologies: 1) self-service approach or 2) big bang approach.

Self-Service Approach
When organizations implement Line of Business (LOB) and core business systems for various departments, such as accounting, HR, etc., a substantial effort and cost is usually put forth to map these systems to their processes and people. However, when it comes to improving management processes around project collaboration, delivery and information management, it is very common to see organizations take a “self-service” approach that leaves workgroup and department managers on their own to choose and implement tools.

The self-service approach to implementing collaboration and project management technologies allows users to choose whatever tools they want and use them in whatever manner they desire.
For many organizations that use the self-service approach, any project management technologies that are implemented become glorified file shares, leaving people to do most of the real project process work using independent tools, such as email, word processors, and spreadsheets. In these instances, there is often no enterprise project management strategy or corresponding technology and process support platform. This leaves workgroups and departments on their own for solutions acquisition, development and support. When they attempt to build project management support tools internally, they face a host of challenges including:

  • Incomplete process definition for the processes they are trying to automate
  • Lack of knowledge of various technology capabilities and limitations as related to existing business processes
  • Inability to demonstrate business value to stakeholders
  • Lack of experience customizing tools to fit processes
  • Inability or lack of human resources to provide ongoing support, training and enhancements

Big Bang Approach
The opposite of the self-service approach is the “big bang” approach to implementing collaboration and project management technologies. In the big bang approach, executives lead a top-down initiative that modifies or replaces existing systems and processes to implement a single collaboration and project management tool enterprise-wide. The new system may be completely unfamiliar to end users and it may not align with existing processes, which inc