Want to know about ‘True’ Project Management Systems?

March 20, 2018


Are you wondering what the title is all about?
Maybe you are asking, “do we have ‘fake’ project management systems?
Before we analyze the above statement, let us get some basics right, starting with the word ‘system.’
A system is a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming an integrated whole.

It is important to note that different systems such as cultural system, economic system, and others exist. However, our focus is on business systems and specifically about project management system.
To gain clarity about project management systems, we need to cover three aspects.

1. Reiterate ‘project management’ and its dimensions;

2. Closely review the definition of a system; and

3. Correlate project management with systems

Project management is about the skills, tools, and techniques to deliver something unique in a time-bound manner and involves initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing. Project management covers business dimensions such as the technical scope, schedule, costs, quality, resources, communication, procurement, stakeholders, risks, and finally integrating these together.
That was about project management in brief.
Let us consider the second aspect. For something to be called a system, there has to be ‘regular interactions’ or ‘interdependent groups’ must come together to form a whole. In today’s business world, an enterprise has multiple groups or functions such as the finance, marketing, engineering, production, infrastructure, human resources, research, compliance, quality, and others. Even though these business functions appear to be independent islands, they are all intertwined with common organization goals and objectives.
It is now time to visit project management systems.

Today’s projects are no longer straightforward and executed by a single business function. Invariably, multiple departments must collaborate to ensure successful project delivery. It is in this context that we need to understand whether our project management systems are real or fake!
Project management systems were thought of, designed, and marketed as though project management was only about schedules, resources, and elementary costs. Over time, some of the firms that developed project management systems reluctantly offered risks and documentation as lip service.
Crucial business dimensions such as research, engineering, procurement, quality, finance, social collaboration, comprehensive documentation, and others were left to fend for themselves.

Why did the above scenario arise? Well, we will reserve that discussion for another day.
Now, how do functions such as research, engineering, procurement, and others listed above support project management? More importantly, how do the project manager and the team members deal with these dimensions on the project?
Your guess is as good as mine or anybody else’s!
These functions end up literally as islands. Either they develop their micro-solutions or workarounds that ensures that their pain is minimal. If they don’t perform as expected on the project, the business leaders have very little reason to pull them up for unsatisfactory performance.
Maybe, such business functions were designed to ensure lack of accountability!

Now, when business leaders and project professionals review existing project management systems, it becomes undeniable that they are not ‘real’ project management systems at all!
A real project management system must be designed to work seamlessly and collaboratively with all the organizational business functions. If not, as professionals, we would be misusing and abusing the very concept and the power of a system – in this case, the project management system!
It is high time that you thoroughly evaluate your existing project management ‘system’.  On the other hand, if your organization is looking for one, then you still have hope!
Try the real power of a project management system in TouchBase®!

Srikanth PV


Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at Kytes focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - Kytes PSA. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.