Project Management

I’m a Project Management Luddite. You Can Be One, Too.

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

For starters, it helps to understand what we mean by “Luddite,” I imagine. History will tell you that the Luddites were a social movement of the early 19th century, where workers destroyed labor-saving equipment in protest. The dictionary will tell you that it broadly references someone who opposes technological change. In other words, they are the people most likely to start sentences with the phrase, “Back in my day, we did it differently…”

So what, you may ask, does it mean to be a project management Luddite? Do I like for project management to be painful, difficult and laborious? Am I morally opposed to the introduction of technology as a project management tool? Not necessarily. But at the same time, I personally don’t make a great deal of use of it in managing my projects (even ones that are quite sizeable).

In my viewpoint, you don’t specifically need a great deal of technology to manage projects well. Not that I write my status reports by quill pen, mind you. This article was not inscribed on stone tablets with chisels; I wrote it in Microsoft Word, much as you would expect. But that’s the thing: The technology that I use most is what you would normally expect of your typical desk-bound office worker, not your high-flying project executive. I use Word for documents. PowerPoint for presentations. Excel for a …

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"Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."

- Mark Twain