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Tool Softener

Toolbox "When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."  --Abraham Maslow.

One of the surest ways to create an "office holy war" is to get dogmatic about which tool or technique is THE BEST WAY to solve a problem.  I was reading Kevin Brady's post about Fools and Their Tools.  His tongue-in-cheek assessment of "high gain no pain" promises from project management tool pushers (software, training, templates, consulting) rang so true.

I have one colleague who enjoys "going to the mat" with me over which project management software tool is better:  MS Project or Niku Workbench (now CA Clarity).  I've always been a "Project" guy and have never really embraced the superfluous overhead that Workbench promises; nevertheless, we've come to respect each other's views and have turned our disagreement into playful banter when we see each other.

Recently, a former client of mine contacted me with news that the CEO, after having read my book, is now requiring his management team to provide him weekly reports using a modified version of the SHARP status report.  I emphasize the word modified because he is not requiring Statistics or Highlights; only Accomplishments, Risks, and Projects... I guess that would make it an ARP status.  Regardless, I was thrilled that a busy executive found something in the book that he could modify and make it his own.

However, there are those who think that their one tool or process is the best way.  I've learned how to be polite yet firm with dogmatic types.  After all, dogma is simply passion without all the information.  Asking questions like "Why do you believe that?" and "Have you ever considered...?" at least gets the person to pause and consider why s/he has vested so much passion in ONE BEST WAY.  Sometimes they budge; sometimes they don't.  It's one thing to have preferences (like the project software mentioned earlier); but to allow those preferences to become the perceptual filter that blocks out any other possibility is downright dangerous.

No tool is a silver bullet.  Carpe Factum is not built on dogma.  If there is no flexibility in adapting a tool or process to your environment, your projects, your processes, and your people, then run ... run away... away from the tool, from the consultant, or from the company that is attempting to force their ONE BEST WAY down your throat.

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Comments

Lucia Mancuso

This is a topic I go over in my mind constantly. My battle is always with software - there are some great tools out there but I want to be sure that the maintenance on then in low and that everyone can use it without a severe amount of training and heart ache.
I've been PMing for The Blog Studio for 9 months now and still haven't found the perfect solution.

1. We are software junkies - so when something new comes out - everyone gets excited to try it out
2. Most of the software I find has way too much overhead in maintenance and training while others are almost perfect but have missing links.
3. Because we are such a young company - our actually processes change every few months - new employees come on - new types of projects get added - always making the process change.

So - I'm at the point of stepping back now and assessing - is it that we need to just stop searching and stick with one thing and make it work - or do we keep going on this way until we are at a point where we are secure that this process will work for a good amount of time?

Still no answer from me - any advice?

Mosaic

yah!!! just make a good software so that user will have fun handle your making....

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