Project Management

The Software Shuffle

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

Project management and software should be one of those intersections that represent a marriage made in heaven. There are lots of details to manage, lots of math to calculate and lots of facts to keep in one place, so software seems like it should be a no-brainer. To judge from the number of software vendors that exist in the project management “space”, you would have to assume on some level that that’s actually true. Yet the sad reality is that today, after doing what I do for more than 25 years, I’m no closer to saying there is a really amazing, incredibly valuable, indispensable project management software package that I simply can’t do without.
Actually, I’m no closer to being able to manage better with software than I can on paper. According to a couple of respected consultants that I know (who admittedly belong to an older generation that came of age before software was actually really popular), that’s a really good test of whether or not you’re a good project manager. In their eyes, if you can manage on paper then you know your stuff and can probably graduate to software. Even if you accept that view (slightly patronizing as it is), it doesn’t solve the problem of what software you might actually want to graduate to.
From where I sit today, I’ve had the opportunity to explore virtually every project management…

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Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

- Robert Frost