Breaking the Scheduling Barrier: The Advent of Web-Based PM and Collaboration

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when the term "project management software" was used to reference a very narrow suite of tools: project scheduling solutions like Microsoft Project and Primavera Project Planner that automated the administration of the project scheduling process. Not to say that project scheduling isn’t important, or that these tools are not an indispensable part of any project managers toolkit--ever try to recalculate a project schedule on a weekly basis by hand? But let’s be honest here: There’s more to project management than just scheduling.

Yet for a long time, the only project management solutions available were limited to the very narrow sphere of schedule management, with occasional spin-offs into budget tracking and resource management. Today, however, it’s a whole new project management world.

The Internet has blown open the doors to a whole new suite of project management tools that focus on what has been an otherwise manual, face-to-face process: group collaboration.

Group collaboration tools themselves defy specific categorization: Some are structured while others are free-flowing and flexible. Some tools were specifically developed to support the processes of project management, and others started life with a much more general purpose. Collectively, however, they have served to rapidly …

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"The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one."

- Mark Twain

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