This article is not a rant against project management; it is a love letter to purpose-driven teams working together in an aligned and productive way (aka Project Management at its best).
The problem is actually project management software, and let me tell you why.
Problem 1: Complexity
Project Management software creates the illusion that we can manage an infinite amount of complexity. We can't.
Problem 2: Change
Project Management software makes the cost of change too high, so we knuckle down and keep working even if we all know we're going in the wrong direction.
Problem 3: Burnout
Project Management software focuses on optimising utilisation and ensuring everyone is optimally busy, which ironically isn't the way to get the most out of people.
Let's take a deeper look.
The world is undoubtedly becoming more complex, but complexity can be good.
Complexity is good but can not be 'managed' in spreadsheets and Gantt Charts.
The solution isn't to use software to manage increasing levels of complexity. The answer is to use technology to reduce complexity and automate low-value repetitive work that acts as background noise in our brains and distracts us from what we should be focused on.
Modern Project Management tools encourage us to create. We create plans, generate status reports, create lengthy backlogs of work, capture meeting minutes and risk backlogs, and the list goes on.
And let's all admit we're creating more than people are using. The bulk of the project-related material we make never gets looked at or used in decision-making.
The more we create, the more friction there is to making change, especially at scale.
The answer is dynamic documentation, where simplifying, refining, improving and even deleting are valued more than creating something new.
Calendars are designed to be filled. You look at an empty calendar, and it is asking for 'stuff' to be added.
Traditional project management software considers people as resources and projects as a collection of work that needs to be done. With this view, the project manager's job is to break up the work and allocate it to people.
As project managers, even when we try and see people as people (not resources), we still essentially just slot work into the available spaces. If we measure productivity through the lens of utilisation, then the pressure will always be to fit more into a day leading to burnout over time.
The solution is to measure productivity in a more nuanced way. Measure value delivered, problems solved, and objectives achieved rather than utilisation.
Essentially we want to optimise the flow of work by measuring what's achieved instead of hours worked, which will often look like more flex time, fewer hours clocked and more focus, which will deliver more organisational value over time.
So we made Impact Builder to create a project management alternative that will help reduce complexity, promote change and reduce burnout by doing the following:
We hope you find it valuable
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