What Project Management is Not

Project Management is Not a Silver Bullet.

Project Management will not ensure success. It will not make you finish the project early, to spec, under cost, and appease all your customers. Sure, all these things can happen, but Project Management tools, practices, etc, etc only allow these possibilities, they do not guarantee them.

Project Management is Not an afterthought.

If your project is out of control in terms of scope, time, money, or all three, it may already be too late. If you where flying off the road into the nearest tree, would you say “Hmmm… I think I need a steering wheel.” Why is the control of your project treated the same way?

Project Management is Not optional.

I use web2project for everything ranging from my major clients to simple upgrade tasks on CaseySoftware, CodeSnipers, and here. Excessive? Maybe. Does anything get left out? Not a chance.

Project Management is Not about tools or pretty drawings.

As a core contributor to web2project, I have a personal and even financial interest in everyone using it, loving it, and naming their kids Gantt and Critical Path. But I don’t care what you use, but use something. An Excel spreadsheet would be a step up for many people.

Project Management is Not a random process.

Project Management is about planning. It’s about knowing the status of tasks. It’s about taking measured risks and having plans to mitigate those. It’s about looking at the cold hard facts of the project and sometimes having to say “We’re not going to make it.”

Project Management is Not a one-time action.

von Moltke’s dictum says that “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Having a project plan a the beginning of the project is a first step, but it’s not the last. Regular evaluation, adjustment, and sometimes even retreat is necessary.

I know, this sounded harsh, but I’m trying to make a point. I have worked with and for many companies who say “This time it will be different! We have a Project Plan!” like it means something. Well, let me tell you something: It doesn’t.

Tomorrow I’ll get into talking about what Project Management actually is and why you need it.