Why do organizations consider and use project management software? There are many reasons - too many projects
, too many people
, etc. Hopefully the reason is not because everyone else is doing it.
One of the things I would like to throw out there is whether or not project management software delivers a competitive advantage? And is that a core reason to strategically consider project management software?
First of all, organizations struggle with getting an edge over the intense competition in the marketplace today. A competitive advantage is key for an organization to increase market share and success. Companies that simply stay put, rest on their laurels, are "just as good" as their competitors, or otherwise cannot distinguish themselves in some way are in trouble.
What is competitive advantage? I did a quick Google Search and found QuickMBA
with a some definition for us. Basically, it says that you have a competitive advantage if either you deliver the same benefits as your competitors at lower cost, or deliver benefits that exceed those of competing products.
Examples? How about delivering to your customers with less people / overhead? Or delivering products to your customers faster. Or perhaps simply making your promised dates more often, or being able to sell at a lower price or higher margin? All of these would constitute a competitive advantage, and one that is not easily imitated.
Can project management software do this? No. But...project management software can play a big role in it. Project management software in and of itself can never deliver competitive advantage. It is just a tool. But if you use the tool in conjunction with the right processes and strategic initiatives, it can play a vital role.
Some of our best clients (I'll use them as an example since I know them best) use project management software along with implementing better processes. This type of strategic effort really pays off in the long-term. When they are used together effectively, things stop slipping through the cracks, things get done quicker, dates are more reliable, products get delivered to the market faster, etc.
Can you do this without project management software? If you are a project-focused organization (such as engineering products or implementing products for clients) and you have more than say 10 people, I would say no. The amount of time it takes to maintain the real-time information needed for insight for better decisions and process support is simply too great. Either the information is not there to support the process, or it takes a lot of effort and time to formulate. This negates the value and detracts from the process.
Can you do this with project management software but without the process? No. You have to have the process with organizational buy-in
or else the software does not provide the value that it can.
What's the bottom line? Combining the right tools (project management software) with the right processes
can indeed create a competitive advantage for a project oriented organization. But it takes a prolonged effort with continual evaluation to see what is working and what needs to be improved. And this effort should never end.
What do you think? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org