Why Old-School Project Management is Becoming Extinct [The Liquid Approach: Part 1/6]

Liz Pearce | February 25, 2011

PM Before After
left Image

The Liquid ApproachEveryone’s got a different idea about what project management means. To some, it’s keeping on top of a simple shared to-do list. To others, it’s orchestrating a massive set of resources to produce a large-scale deliverable. But we can all agree on one thing: project management is the way business objectives are achieved.

Whether they’re formally trained or operating off the cuff, project managers around the globe coordinate the efforts of individual resources to complete tasks and deliverables as part of project plans. Historically, the tools available to project managers have been more similar than different. They’ve all been based on a set of principles – date-driven schedules, centralized control, and limited transparency.

QuizzicalRecently, the tide has started to turn. At LiquidPlanner, our goal is to lead the way towards what we think is an easier, more people-focused way to manage projects.

This blog series is a guide to the LiquidPlanner approach to managing multiple projects. This method can be used by just about anyone – a traditionally-trained Project Manager, an Agile PM, or even an Accidental PM. It’s one perspective in a crowded and noisy space, but it’s one that is already helping thousands of teams achieve their goals.

Starting today and all through next week, we’ll be talking about how to organize and manage projects more efficiently with LiquidPlanner, no matter who you are. Let’s get started.

Why Old-School Project Management is Becoming Extinct

Remember the days when the Project Manager held the keys to the castle? When you had to wait for the weekly project status meeting to find out whether progress was on track? When getting an accurate copy of the project schedule was harder than cracking the Rubik’s cube?

As management tools of all types (both personal and professional) have moved online, the “real time” expectation of always-up-to-date and always-available information has carried over to the project management world.

PM Before AfterToday’s project management systems are found online and used not just by the guy or gal with “Project Manager” in their title, but by everyone who contributes to the project deliverables.

While some might complain that this is just one more thing to keep up with (piled on top of email, social collaboration systems, and the other tools we use to run our businesses), competitive teams have embraced the benefits that come with centrally managed project plans and execution:

  1. Distributing project administration costs across the team frees up the project manager to focus on strategic and operational challenges.
  2. Higher efficiency gained from providing “always on” transparency into work assignments, key dates, and team priorities.
  3. Fewer meetings and less email. Project status updates and communication are centralized and archived for reporting and analysis.
  4. Better use of resources. Since knowledge workers ARE the assets in many types of business, their productivity equates to revenue.  Their time should be allocated and tracked in a way that maximizes the investment in human capital.

LiquidPlanner allows teams to pare down other work management systems (like time tracking, document management, collaboration, and task managers) and move to a single project/portfolio environment that gives them visibility into the entire scope of work they have on their plates.

Coming up on Monday: Building a Project Schedule the Best Case/Worst Case Way