top of page

Project Management Is Not Plug and Play

Plug and play devices are wonderful. They make life so easy.

Just plug the device to your computer, and voila – it’s working!

You don’t need to bother yourself with physical device configuration or worry your head about resolving resource conflicts – the device and your computer will sort themselves out. Somehow, the computer (automatically) recognizes the device and begins to work with it within a few seconds of being plugged in.

Unlike plug and play devices, a NON plug-and-play device would require you to (manually) go through some steps of setting up the device before it would work. This can be very frustrating for some of us to deal with.

I remember the several battles I had with my first laptop (some 15 years ago) whenever I had a device to connect with it. How I hated the sight of that annoying yellow question mark (in the Device Manager section) that tells you that there is a resource conflict…

In my experience as a project practitioner, I found out that most consultants, company executives, and fellow project practitioners somehow wish that the application of project management practices were some plug and play device – something that can be purchased off the shelf, plugged into organizational systems, and starts working automatically. Most times, they don’t stop at just wishing, they even act as if it were so.

More often than not, those in charge of implementing project management practices in organizations just lift processes and tools from some Guide, and then apply such processes and tools to their organizations (without fully understanding the uniqueness of the organization concerned – as demonstrated by its objectives, culture, business model, values, processes and procedures, and internal and external constraints).

This usually leads to situations where project practitioners take too much implementation steps than what is appropriate for the organization – some even insist on a full-blown project management implementation when it is not necessary.

This sort of implementation often leads to the perception that a formal project management methodology is nothing more than piles of paperwork that only slows down progress rather than add value to the organization.

Meanwhile, it is just a case of inappropriate implementation!

This inappropriate implementation is giving project management a bad name. Some executives will even tell you that they don’t believe project management works, and most times they have every right to think that way – some consultants have probably messed up their organizational systems in the name of applying project management methodology or setting up PMO.

There is no doubt that project management practices add value. I am sure those working in organizations that have successfully implemented these practices will agree with me on this. And based on my own personal experience in working with different organizations, it is so clear to me that the better an organization is at doing project management, the more competitive it will be.

The challenge is that project management practices must be tailored and scaled to meet the needs of each organization. The implementation should vary organization-by-organization, based on culture, size, and maturity.

There is no one-size-fits-all implementation of project management practices.

The application of project management practices is definitely not like plug and play where things happen automatically. The organization must be manually set up for these changes, as it were. Those implementing these practices must fully understand the uniqueness of their organization, so that they will only implement what is actually needed to create the value that the organization seeks from its projects and programs.

Effective project management reduces costs of doing business, and leads to realized strategic objectives. And without doubt, organizations with strong project management are more competitive all round.

But project management will only be effective if it is properly and appropriately applied.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
bottom of page