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Project Management 101 & Tools

The Worst Way to Handle Your Project Management Software

Adoption is the most difficult part about getting new project management software. People will fight tooth and nail against change, even if the old method doesn′t work anymore. Some companies sidestep the issue entirely, and instead place one person in charge of keeping the new project management tool updated. But in trying to avoid conflict, they make one of the worst possible mistakes.

Ignoring Potential

You should never saddle one single person with updating the project management software. I wince every time a customer makes this mistake–it doesn′t happen a lot, but even once is enough.

Projects are a collaborative enterprise, and good project management software emphasizes that. Every single feature is meant to make cooperation, coordination, and communication easier. But when you place it all on one person′s shoulders, it just becomes a planning tool, no more different than an online checklist or a sheet of legal pad. Instead of tapping your project management tool′s hidden potential, you stifle it.

A Crutch, Not a Champion

The justification I hear most often is that having one person manage the software is faster and more convenient than making everyone else log in and update it. They call this person the traffic manager, or the software′s internal “champion”. But actually, they′re a crutch and a bottleneck.

The champion will have to run around asking for updates, and then spend some time organizing them and logging them into the software. Yes, the project manager can shave a few minutes off each day by not doing the updates himself, but what happens if the champion lags behind, or gets sick? A missed day or two, and the project management tool becomes outdated and useless. Hardly efficient.  And what of the champion′s time? Instead of devoting one person′s entire day to posting updates, they could be doing other things.

Everyone′s Benefit, Everyone′s Responsibility

Updating the project management software should be a shared responsibility. Yes, everyone will have to take a little more time to enter their updates, but most programs (the good ones anyway) try to make it as fast and painless as possible. And it′s for everybody′s benefit. Updates will be faster and more accurate, and teams will be able to maximize the project management software.

If you use project management software the way it was meant to be used–to make people work together more effectively–then your investment will pay off in huge dividends. But if you limit the responsibility to one person, then you also limit any benefits that it can give your organization.

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