Project Management Software – A few thoughts

Just got back from the PPSOSIG conference (Programme and Project Support Office Specialist Interest Group) more about that later… Part of the day was a Gardeners Question Time, putting PPSO relating questions to a mixed panel of people. Anyway, one of the questions was around tools – what tools would the panel recommend for PPSO. The interesting thing about the response from people both on the panel and in the audience was that MS Project and Excel were the tool of choice. OK so we’re only talking about 35 people but if the overwhelming majority are using just these tools, who is buying all these weird and wonderful bits of software that are printed in project magazines each month?

The other issues highlighted was that people had ventured down the route of buying in a project management tool in the past but had abandoned it after a while. Why? Because they realised that monitoring and reporting is easier if you keep it simple.

And finally, many PPSO’s that had gone down to the road of buying in a project management solution for reporting etc found that they didn’t tend to manage the whole process like a project i.e., understand the need, understand the process that the tool was going to be used for, understanding the benefits, planning, the costs and more importantly how they were going to integrate the tool in the organisation – managing the change etc. Practice what you preach.

The overiding theme to the answers were “Keep it simple”, sometimes project management software and tool selection can take so long and with minimal returns for your investment that it might be easier (and cheaper) to use good old-fashioned pen and paper!

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