Finding a better way to get work done is not about technology, it’s all about people.Regardless of the project management software you use, technology tends to treat people more like raw materials managers can push around a time-line like pawns on a chess board. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in project software–I’m just suggesting that it’s the people making up project teams that are actually responsible for getting work done. Software doesn’t write any code, manufacture any product, or create anything new people do.For example, if your definition of resource management or capacity planning stops at dropping names or job roles on the time-line of an interactive Gantt chart, maybe you should take a step back and reconsider. The “manager” in project manager implies something more than managing process. I believe there is a mandate to manage the people who are involved in that process.I’ll admit, “resource management” and “capacity planning” might not be the best words to use, but to be fair, project management has evolved into a highly technical discipline and therefore employs impersonal and technical terminology. In fact, I recently had a coworker who was reading something I had written ask, “What does resource management really mean? Are you talking about human resources, raw materials, or something else?”His point was well taken. I spent a few extra minutes and more clearly defined what I was talking about. (Although I haven’t been able to come up with a better name for it yet either.)Matching the talents of individual team members with their assigned tasks and responsibilities is something that software can’t do on its own. Which is why software will never replace the project manager. He or she is the one who knows the team and their individual strengths and weaknesses. Successful managers know how to leverage the “people” on the team to create the most desired outcome.In the future, the project management software that is most successful at helping managers do this, will have a real impact on facilitating successful project based work.Project Success Has More to do with People than TechnologyMost of the project managers I speak with on a regular basis are highly technical and process-driven individuals. Both are great qualities for managing projects. However, those who seem to rise to the top also understand that there is something more to successful work management than the technology used or the process employed.As the technology incorporated within business work management software continues to improve and automate many of the tasks project managers once had to perform manually, the role of project managers is starting to change. The ability to roll up the sleeves and more effectively interact with individual team members is making some managers very effective at facilitating collaboration and eliminating the impediments faced by project teams. I see this as a trend that has the potential to reduce the project failure rate and directly impact an organization’s bottom-line.To facilitate this, project managers need to make sure they have a couple of things nailed down:1. They need a thorough understanding of their process and how to best use project management tools to successfully execute that process. PPM software has the ability to automate much of the data collection and reporting requirements of project management and should make it easier for managers and teams in that regard. If it is forcing double entry or encumbers the process, it might not be the right solution for your organization.2. Managers need to have exceptional people skills. A command-and-control management style is not the most effective way to lead a project team. It’s becoming more and more critical that project managers encourage collaborative communication to drive success. Successful teams are where the rubber hits the road. Project success has more to do with people than technology.What do you see within your organization? Are you seeing these trends?
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