We’re always drawing up plans (some more formal than others) and trying to carry them out, usually as part of a team.
So if project management is so core to our professional lives, why is it so difficult to find great project management tools?
Historically, project management separated the “management” from the real work. Picture a Project Manager walking around with a clipboard, collecting status reports, and fiddling with Ganntt charts. Great for putting a man on the moon, but not appropriate for all the informal, fast-moving projects that make up the bulk of our working days. I’m sure most of you have used or seen Microsoft Project at some point, and I’m just as sure that 99.9% of you haven’t used Microsoft Project anytime in the past year.
The first Web 2.0 project management tools broke the monopoly of the project manager, and put the ability to view and manage the project in the hands of the entire team, but they still didn’t help you do the real work. You would log in, pick up your next task, then switch to another application or window to do the actual work.
Don’t get me wrong, this is still a big improvement over Microsoft Project, and I’ll bet that there are more real users of Basecamp than there are of Microsoft Project. Project management is an area that practically cries out for a cloud solution, since so much of the time, you need to involve clients, partners, or outside contractors on projects. But I believe the real key is in combining project management with collaboration in a neatly integrated package.
When you can manage and do your work on a single platform, you can dramatically increase the productivity of your team.
The goal shouldn’t be to displace the project management tools that people use for the 0.1% of projects that are formally managed. It’s to radically improve performance for the 99.9% of projects where the most sophisticated management tool is the Post-It pad.
Previous CloudAve posts on Project Management: