Project management as it’s practiced today is a throwback from the industrial revolution and it hinders innovation in today’s fast-paced, digitally-disruptive world. Agile project management is it’s logical successor, but managers need to embrace it as more than just a software methodology.
Don’t worry—we’ve all done it. If fact, most of us are still are doing it. Actually, most of us are doing it and still think it’s okay to do it.
Part 3 in a 3 Part Series
- Is Your Company Operating from an Industrial-Era Playbook?
- Why Performance-Based Compensation Doesn’t Work
- Traditional Project Management Needs and Upgrade
No, I’m not talking about sneaking in a little TMZ while we’re at work. I’m talking about using Microsoft Project or Excel to make a project plan—something far worse for productivity than the worker time lost by following the latest celebrity break-ups.
Okay, I admit it: I use Microsoft Project Gantt charts at POP for planning small internal projects. And this isn’t really a problem because the time horizon for these projects is short, the complexity manageable, the impact of delays relatively minor, and the amount of uncertainty fairly limited. In short, it’s a simple tool for a simple problem.
But what happens when the project gets more complicated? When the environment in which the product operates is constantly changing? When deliverables are complex and require significant collaboration across teams and partners? When money is on the line and people’s careers hang in the balance? That’s when the Gantt chart starts to break down.
Under these stressful circumstances (which are the norm for many digital initiatives), it’s natural for our desire to exert control to increase, and with it, our desire to seek familiar artifacts that give us a feeling of control. When the going gets tough, the tough make project plans. Unfortunately, feeling in control and being in control aren’t the same thing. No doubt the ancient tribes who performed elaborate rituals to control the weather felt in-control, even though they weren’t.