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04/19/2011

5 Insights To Ensure "Truth" In Your Project Management Software Tool

IStock_000004563504X_web Last week, I wrote a post on What is Truth?  How do we know, or better, how do we create an environment where our project management software tools reflect truth and reality?  If you commented or emailed, thank you.

Here are 5 insights that I extrapolated as to how to get your tools to reflect truth.

1.  Hold People Accountable

Collin wrote that "the best way to get any system to reflect the truth is to hold people accountable to it."  I agree.  Accountability can be done in various ways, including positive reinforcement, but if people are not accountable for making sure that the tool represents truth, good luck.

2.  Make the Information Public

Collin also wrote in his comment that the information should be public.  I agree with this point as well.  If the information is public, there is something about it that causes most people to make sure it is accurate.  After all, everyone can see it.

I do wonder if there is a dark side to this, however.  That would be the scenario where people enter the data that makes them look good.  Perhaps this is the topic of another post.  However, I believe the benefits of making information public outweigh this, and that there are strategies to tackle this.

3.  Perform Quality Checks

There was also the idea of quality checks.  I agree that someone needs to be ensuring the information is always accurate.  By the way, this applies to any tool - whether it is  simple spreadsheets on up to a high-end, sophisticated system.  Someone needs to be sure that the tool is useful, the data is correct, and it is being used properly.  In other words, they need to do some quality process on it.

4.  Ensure Management Buy-In

I suppose this relates directly to accountability, but management needs to be commited to the project management software tool.  They should set the expectation that what is represented in the tool should be truth.  If they do not, it will be very difficult to enforce any sort of accountability and you may need to work on a group or division level.

5.  Wrap a Key Process Around It

I find that almost every organization has some key processes - those processes that are necessary to run the operation.  For example, a services company may have a new project process (from generating a proposal to estimating the resources to getting client approval to kicking it off).  Wrap this process into the tool.  In other words, make the tool indispensable so that it is required to perform the process.  This will also help to encourage that truth is represented in the tool, and that the tool is used.

Thanks for the feedback.  Feel free to comment or email blog@teaminteractions.com with any more ideas that you have experienced.

 





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Remembering that project management software are only made to help in managing projects - not to do everything alone. The team is held accountable in handling projects and should utilize the features of the software. They are also responsible in choosing the best software to use.

To evaluate the effectiveness of a software, checking its features and trying the trial version should be done. You can check this blog: http://www.timedoctor.com/blog/2011/02/02/43-project-management-software-alternatives to see a comparison table of the various software and also its features that are offered.

I like the term Chris Matthews at Specialized Bicycle uses for improved accountability through visibility...

"Having a collaborative tool like Smartsheet adds what I call Clear Pressure," says Matthews. "Since all of the activities are transparent, no team member wants to be the one holding up the project. People are more responsive and perform in a more reliable fashion. They actually begin to cooperate in moving the whole project forward."

https://www.socialtext.net/cases2/specialized_bicycle_smartsheet_com_case_study

Thanks for an insightful post on project management tools. I agree with Jazz - to evaluate the effectiveness of a project management software, one should check its features and benchmark project management standards accordingly. I have tried the trial version for Project Standard 2010 to evaluate its effectiveness and have been impressed.
http://www.microsoft.com/project/en/us/project-standard-2010.aspx

Yes it's true that your team should utilize features of the application you use. It's not the software package alone that will help you.

I have tried the demo version of Latitude and it has also impressed me. Another thing that makes it good is that it is customizable and you can ask vendors to add/modify features.
Website: http://www.latibiz.com/

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