Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Moving from Microsoft Project to web based management

Spaghetti Project Management
Thanks to several examples provided by our customers (for debugging purposes, or because of mehodological questions), I've started to acquire a certain experience in how Microsoft Project is really used, and what one should do when moving to web based project management.

Some users were setting in Microsoft Project everything as a task: micro management issues, meetings in the agenda, points to discuss; this seems practical, as everything is in one file, as long as one does not have to share such information.
This habit brings about also other problems: it shows an unrealistic assumption about work, as every little detail, like a quick meeting, has to be planned in advance, and by a single person; but this is not how work (and life) goes.
Such unreadable and excessively detailed plan is bound to be at best ignored by the rest of the team, if explicit refusal is impossible due to authority.
So, users search for more "acceptable" solutions, and start by... importing the original project tree! So the initial situation is even worse, because a web based application can't compete with a client in managing complex trees.

Agile, practical management
The way to agile, practical management is to have simple trees and few assignments; you have to distribute the original tree information in the appropriate, confortable places you find in Teamwork, which does a lot of work to help you. Getting users to insert their worklog is always a hard-won victory, and a great result for the company, which will gain more and more value in time . We on the software side are working really hard to release ever lmore friendly software, without loosing power available to project managers and the system integrators. I recently realized that the simplest "worklog" software of all is Twitter; the only problem is.. that it does nothing.

Pietro Polsinelli


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