Tools Don’t Substitute for Expertise

A common lament I have heard in the world of projects and project management: “If I only had access to Microsoft Project, I’d be a better project manager.” WRONG! If you have good project management skills to begin with, Microsoft project may allow you to extend those skills to managing larger, more complex initiatives and programs. But this post isn’t specific to Microsoft Project.

Repeatedly in business, you see the false hope of implementing a tool or a system, where a skill set or a process doesn’t exist; the hope being that everything will be better once the tool is in place. This is the same as holding off your exercise program, waiting for that next piece of exercise equipment to be delivered to your home, because then you’ll be able to get in aerobic shape and drop the pounds. The “tool” in this case is the mis-placed proxy for the competency – the discipline to exercise. This is a very dangerous trap to fall into, and again, one that I see all the time. Working everything back to true objectives will save the day, understanding that skills are supplemented by tools and not created by tools is a key learning.

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