Carl Chatfield: Top 10 Problems, #2: Believe that good scheduling software makes one a good project manager


Carl here. ProjHugger is for Microsoft Office Project newbies, enthusiasts, and zealots. I publish new posts every Monday morning, but you can add comments any time. This week’s ProjHugger post continues the “Top 10 problems new (and not so new) Project users have, and what you can do to ease the pain” series, which started like this: #10, #9, #8, #7, #6, #5, #4, and #3.

As projects go, I think we'd all agree that the development of the first atomic bomb qualifies as a big, complex project. But consider this: the atomic bomb was invented without benefit of scheduling software (in fact, without any software as we think of it today). But not without project management knowledge.

Software Isn't Always the Solution

When I presented this subject at a Project User Group meeting, I represented the problem with this image:


We all recognize the item on the left side of the equation. It's our favorite project management application, Project 2007. Let me walk through the items on the right side of the equation to support my claim that good project management software alone does not make one a good project manager.

I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

First, there's A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, or PMBOK from PMI. If you are professionally identified as a project manager, at least in North America, chances are you are already a member of PMI and know what the PMBOK is. If not, here's a quick explanation. PMI is the Project Management Institute, the professional organization for project managers. The PMBOK (pronoucned "pimbok") is a concise summary of what PMI recognizes as the major knowledge areas of project management. Some of the knowledge areas, like time and cost management, are well supported by tools like Project. Other areas, though, like human resources and procurement, are well outside the scope of Project's feature set.

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