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The Role of Project Management Software in the Work Management Process

Friday afternoon I was speaking with one of our product managers about the paradigm shift I think needs to take place to facilitate a broader adoption of project management software across the enterprise. Before coming to AtTask, I managed projects, but would never have considered myself to be a "project manager." I was responsible for organizing the team and getting things accomplished, but wasn't managing software projects, so I didn't feel I fit the project manager mold.

As I've talked to customers, I've met dozens of people who, like me, are responsible for getting stuff done but don't fit the traditional IT-specific project management model. They do project based work, but that's where the similarity ends.

Why does it matter?

Let me give you an example. One of our customers was looking for a solution to help them manage a fairly repeatable manufacturing process. While looking for a software solution, they found a number of products that were designed around the software development cycle. (Project management is a more mature discipline within the software industry than it is in other disciplines throughout the enterprise.) This executive was looking for something that would be more adaptable to a manufacturing process and usable for a non-technical workforce. They found that most of the products they looked at weren't flexible enough to adapt to their process and were too cumbersome for their workforce to use.

While discussing this with my colleague in product management, he pulled down the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge) and suggested that there was a lot of really good information in traditional project management methodologies that shouldn't be ignored just because a manufacturing or marketing company doesn't manage the same type of process. I agree. That being said, project management software should streamline and simplify, rather than complicate the work management process.

As we've talked before, I believe that a project manager's role within the organization is to facilitate an efficient process, assist the workforce in overcoming impediments to productivity, and keep projects on time and on budget. However, most project managers I've met spend the majority of their time manually collecting status from project team members, compiling and analyzing raw data, and preparing reports that are eventually pushed up to the executive suite.

It requires a skilled professional to do the former, technology can automate the latter.

Does your project management software enable you to help your project teams be more efficient? Or do you spend the lion's share of your time with your nose in a spreadsheet compiling status reports for the boss?
About Author Ty Kiisel :

As an “accidental” project manager and marketing veteran with over 25 years of experience, Ty Kiisel makes the concepts and best practices of <a href="" target="_blank">web-based project management software</a> accessible to both the expert and novice project professional by weaving personal experiences, historical references and other anecdotes into daily discussions around effective leadership approaches that maximize the effectiveness of project teams.  Ty is also the host of the popular podcast,

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Article Added on Wednesday, May 25, 2011
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