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Help, I've just implemented a project management tool!

Part2 of a farce in 6 parts. Why not help 'David' by posting your answers below?

Dear all,

Listening to your advice yesterday, Ive just gone and implemented a corporate project management tool. We did it for really good reasons. Our senior stakeholders simply could not see project and programme information, and the system demos we saw made it look really easy.

Unfortunately, all that seems to have happened is that weve spent a lot on a system that nobody uses, producing reports that dont seem to help anyone and the data is still rubbish but at least we have it all in one place and we must have the best RAG system in the country too it must be, I cant understand it.

Im getting all kinds of stick for doing what I thought was the right thing. Help - Where did I go wrong?

Yours Etc
David

Part 1 - Help, Ive just implemented a PMO!

Part 3 - Help, I've just trained everyone!

6 comments

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  1. Guy Hindley
    Guy Hindley 23 August 2013, 01:56 PM

    It's surely the difference between toolset training and training in the techniques to do the job?Many vendors offer excellent training in how to use their toolset. Few if any offer training in "how to do the job, and incidently this is the toolset". I believe that what organisations and individuals need to move forward is training in the job first and foremost. I used to build and  deliver an MSP (MicroSoft Project) training course, but it was called "how to plan, this is MSP". I had a couple of delegates who said it was one of the best Open Plan courses they had been on, as it taught them the job and gave them the knowledge to know the questions to ask the toolset. I believe this often happens because the courses are put together by the vendor who understands the toolset, but not by the USERS. Capitals deliberatey used. 

  2. Stephen Parrett
    Stephen Parrett 04 April 2013, 05:48 PM

    In this context it is about knowing the organisation, its people (especially those that make decisions), how things work (processes that should be followed and those that happen in practice anyway) and who needs to know what information.Even where there is an imperfect project management regime in place, a good understanding of the environment can make the most basic of project management "tools" provide some value.However, don't panic - look at what works, identify the gaps and work out how best to get nearer the expected outcome. Where are the business leaders?? This scenario reminds me of tortoises and hares...........

  3. Peter Wilson
    Peter Wilson 04 April 2013, 04:39 PM

    Full transparency - part of our project & portfolio service is implementing and supporting HP PPM.In our experience there are typical reasons why a PPM/PM software implementation may not realise the benefits everyone expected (or were sold!)1. The vendor didnt check that solid processes were already in place (software wont suddenly create processes that didnt exist in the first place but you would be forgiven for thinking it could according to some of the pitches)2. An overly complex implementation was introduced - its a big step to go from no system/Excel to an enterprise level solution.  Starting simple and adding functionality as maturity grows is the way forward.  Too much data is as bad as none until you are ready for it.3. Training and support were not extensive enough/more is required/it wasnt tailored to your needs - the introduction of a tool is as much a cultural changes as it is a technical one and spending as much time bringing the users with you (and solidly embedding the necessary skills) is as vital as it having the latest social media widgets (I may get a little ranty at times, forgive me)4. Over promising and being economical with the truth - no software is a magic bullet to every problem and no software solution is without hard graft for it to become a valuable tool.  If its presented as such then no matter how much it moves the business forward it may still be seen as a disappointment. You haven't done anything wrong - from what I see you've been oversold and under supported.  This is not a fatal blow as we've seen many floundering implementations turned around.I hope the above is of some use.Petewww.polarisoft.com  

  4. David Dunning
    David Dunning 04 April 2013, 04:20 PM

    Dear both,Thank you so much for your comments. I think half of the issue is that we havent really made sure that our people know what project or programme management is, so how can we provide a tool, or expect a PMO to do a job when the potential users of the tool dont know the theory. How can they possibly understand the state of the art thinking Im trying to bring in if they cant speak my P3M Lingo. Doh!This is really helpfull, I know what to do tomorrow. What can possibly go wrong.Yours etc,David

  5. David Hannah
    David Hannah 04 April 2013, 03:53 PM

    One thought would be to resign and join a company that appreciates your efforts more BUT rather than do that make sure that the individual projects and programmes are providing the right information in the first place.Consult with your key stakeholders to ascertain what they want to see - if they are not sure give them some options.  Make sure that the system can meet these requirements.Try to make sure that the information provided by the system meets the needs of those using it - they must understand to make use of it and appreciate it.As someone said in response to the earlier blog it all comes down to effective communication.  They know where to find it but it must give them what they want and to do that you must ask them!

  6. Achilleas Mavrellis
    Achilleas Mavrellis 04 April 2013, 03:51 PM

    DavidI really heart project management tools. But I confess ... I'm a bit of a technogeek.More seriously, do people on the ground know why you have this tool?Do they understand that any organisation needs to manage from the top down (portfolios and programmes) as well as bottom up (KPIs and projects)?Are enough of these kinds of people focussed on outcomes, not just on what they need to do every day? Do they even care about the outcomes?Achilleas