It's a Project Manager's World Newsletter with Dr. James Brown
      September, 2014 Full Moon Edition      

Project Management Tools - Content is King!

I am a fisherman. Fishing is my passion. Like a lot of you with a passion I spend a lot of money on it, sometimes by purchasing “high end” equipment. One of these purchases unfairly deemed exorbitant by my wife, was a filet knife for cleaning fish.

But this is no ordinary knife. You can read about the knife here. The knife was a very expensive purchase for me and the knife maker (a true craftsman) had a one year backlog, so when he contacted me a year after I had gotten on the waiting list to say he was ready to build the knife… and required payment, buyers remorse set in and I was questioning the purchase… but I went ahead.

It is shaped like an ordinary knife. It looks like an ordinary knife. The knife’s exceptional characteristic is that it holds an edge for a very long time. I rarely have to sharpen it and when I do it is just a couple of passes across a diamond stone. Despite having never been able to sharpen a knife before to a razors edge, even though I have all the fancy sharpening tools, just a couple of passes on the diamond stone and this knife is scary sharp. The primary factor that makes this knife unique is the metallurgical content of the knife.  The content!

The metal it is made of makes the difference and it takes a craftsman to work effectively with this metal to create the knife.

When it comes to project management tools the exterior shell doesn’t matter much… be it Microsoft Project, Clarity, whatever. What matters is the content and the craftsman working with it. No tool overcomes poor content and too many leaders think buying and installing the tool is the solution to making every project manager successful. Project management tools don't help much if your requirements are in disarray, or if your risks are not properly identified or the relationships between the tasks are not understood, etc. and the person in charge doesn't know how to lead a team to resolve this cohesively.

Now if you need the project management tools to drive the creation of the content, so be it. Just remember if the content is not there, expect that there will be a significant amount of time and anguish between tool installation and actionable results. Additionally, creation of good content is a skill and having a tool will not substitute for the skill of a project management craftsman. 

Copyright 2014 SEBA Solutions Inc.

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