Top tips for software users
In my last blog I talked about the pain points facing project managers within their organisations in terms of project and resource management. Of particular concern was the need to simplify and streamline processes to remove the ‘grunt’ work of everyday operations.
Armed with this information we set out to test the theory that software can make a difference by organising a three week trial of Microsoft Project Online, our collaborative online tool.
The results of that trial reveal that while software tools are universally accepted as a good thing, but there is no clear sense of what constitutes best practice when it comes to software utilisation in projects.
Asked how useful was the software? Reviewers said: “It’s a brilliant tool for overseeing the whole project process, particularly if you have several projects running simultaneously,” and “It didn’t really fail on anything for us – we were blown away. It’s a great way for project managers to manage, organise and communicate.”
Asked would they commit and buy it? Reviewers said: “Not just yet. It comes down to maturity – we’re making baby-steps along our technology road map. We wouldn’t use all of the functions, that’s the problem – we probably only used about 20%-30% of what the software is capable of doing.”
This suggests a gap in knowledge around functionality and the best practice that surrounds that. In a recent webinar aimed at tackling this very problem, we talked about finding solutions in a very intuitive and easy to understand way.
Here are the top pain points, and how you counter them:
- Innovation – Innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organisation, and yet 58% of companies don’t have an innovation strategy (according to Capgemini), by which we mean a process through which ideas can be gathered in a systematic way. Organisations that do have a strategy in place and are highly innovative achieve in average 13% higher growth over a 5 year period.
- Alignment – Moving on from innovation and idea capture we move on to developing the business case, which is where the concept of alignment comes to the forefront. For most organisations, projects are only worth approving if they align with corporate or strategic goals, yet 68% of organisations don’t do this. So what’s the benefit of being highly aligned? 17% higher growth rate over a 5 year period.
- Execution – Following approval we move in to execution, the running of the project and this is where 57% of projects fail in one way or another due to poor communication (according to BULL), whilst organisations that have effectives ways in which to increase communication and collaboration see a 17% increase in projects being completed on budget.
Other blogs in this series:
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As part of my work as a P3M consultant working in and around the UK Civil Service, we have used APM’s Conditions for Project Success report to create a project health-check tool