Project Management Tools and Transparency

Project Management Tools and Transparency

We continue with our review of the latest report from Software Advice.  Specifically, we will focus on one of the top three reasons or drivers for buyers are looking to move from manual tools to a less labor intensive project management tool.  The specific language is below:

The top reasons driving buyers to consider Project Management solutions for the first time include the need to[1]:

  • Improve organization (54 percent);
  • Automate processes, such as task management and time tracking (48 percent); and,
  • Increase transparency of project statuses and updates (45 percent).

I have some bad news for those purchasing project management software tools to help them to transition to transparency.  I can understand how one of the goals should be to see things how they are and not how things are spun or articulated ambiguously to intentionally mislead.  This attribute of an organization is a function of the organization and not driven by a tool, though a tool perhaps can help.  The problem is the tool is a way to record, and involves human interaction. Therefore, a tool will not entirely solve this issue of truthfulness in reporting on the project status.  In fact, without a cultural change this tool may only present a new obstacle for how to massage the data to reflect what is wanted to see, but not what is actually there.

If you want a transparent organization, I think you have to start at the top. You must recognize that everybody must model the behavior that is expected.  The organization must not shoot those that prefer to work transparent, and work them over for not doctoring the data.  You do not change corporate culture and level of transparency by rewarding those that least exhibit the behavior.  Those that show fake numbers or otherwise misrepresent the project situation and are immediately promoted upon project closure. Only we find in the next ensuing months we have massive quality problems that we must fix in the field – costing our company dearly.

It is incoherent, to simultaneously complain about transparency, then rig the system so the only time you want to hear the truth is when it is affirmative or what you want to hear and not an accurate portrayal of the project situation.   It can be argued that you really need to hear the truth when things are not going good.

Not tools will save you this headache.  Tools cannot make you more transparent. That takes organizational culture and behavioral change and commitment.

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