The professional world of project, program, and portfolio management has seen unprecedented changes in a matter of two decades. Not every move has been excellent! Of course, the corporate world has (hopefully) learned its lessons too.
In the past, when people worked on projects, it was just project management, and they were project managers. There were no prefixes or suffixes to ‘project management.’ Industries were busy managing projects; some projects were simple while some were not so simple!
Something unusual and yet perplexing happened subsequently. Firms started using different jargons, and the technology-based organizations led the pack. Talks were not just on project management – it was now ‘software project management’ ‘construction project management,’ ‘retail project management,’ and others. Technology saw further specializations in ‘Waterfall,’ ‘V-Model’ and many more!
Today, we know about the Agile approach which has multiple methodologies such as Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Model, Extreme Programming, Feature Driven Development, et al. Then the hybrid versions cropped up with all possible permutations and combinations highlighting the capability of the human mind to be ‘creative’ or so it appears. One need not be surprised to hear some more approaches and methodologies at a much faster pace than what we have seen in the past. The trend seems to be in sync with our food habits – preference for fast food!
While project management has seen tremendous shifts, software solution providers have also been working sleepless nights to ensure that they are not left redundant. We have seen some of the ‘prevalent’ solutions trying (and not being successful) to transform via ‘numerous avatars’ while struggling with the same old foundation. How could you blame them? After all, you do not produce software overnight!
The question then is – how should companies and professionals that manage projects ‘effectively and efficiently manage them’ without sophisticated software? The very definition of ‘sophisticated software’ is an oxymoron in today’s times. By the time executives and corporations get a semblance of stability in the way they adopt software solutions to manage projects, something new has happened somewhere. Then there is a mad rush to get on the ‘bandwagon of the new.’
Does it all appear to be the handy-work of super-capitalism – one that creates ‘seemingly new opportunities’ to ensure their coffers are never empty?
Maybe or maybe not!
Irrespective of any speculation behind, what should project leaders do? Don’t expect them to change their software solutions every six months – this is the crux.
In the evaluation and selection process, it is imperative for users and decision makers to assess a potential PPM solution not just for today, but for tomorrow and beyond and this has to happen by configuration and not customization! Oops, it looks like I have tread into another controversial territory of ‘software customization.’ We will review that in another blog. For now, it is important to ask potential PPM software providers a critical question – what is the extent of their solution configuration versus customization. The answer to that should ideally guide your decision making – either for today or foreseeable tomorrow.
Best of luck.