Too many tools in project management

As soon as a new project is planned, the question arises as to where and how to start. For this purpose, there are methods and tools in project management that help to structure the daily work. With the help of various tools, it is possible to design structured work processes, methodical procedures and projects in a transparent and comprehensible way, which gives the project manager security and creates trust with the client. But also, when new employees join a project, they can quickly familiarise themselves thanks to uniform working methods and tools. 

The tools have changed a lot in recent years due to digitalisation. Today's standard is strongly linked to the digital world. Since there are now a multitude of digital helpers for project management, it is not always easy to keep track and decide on the right tool.
Several tools are on a shelf.


More or fewer tools?

Often the question is not only which tools to use in project management, but also how many tools are actually needed. One thing is certain: you cannot work without tools. 
Every project manager has their own favourites and uses the tools that help them in their work. But sometimes it makes sense to take a step back. There is nothing wrong with trying out new tools from time to time - there are always innovative developments on the market. And maybe there really is something out there that can make the project work even better. If there is something better, there is nothing wrong with getting rid of tools that are no longer up to date or that cost time instead of saving it.
It is important that each project manager reviews the tools used and how they are used at least once a year and makes any necessary adjustments. This will ensure that the tool is still useful to the project or company.

Why too many tools do not only bring advantages

Project management tools can be very useful, but too many tools also bring risks. As is often the case, less is sometimes more: Less is sometimes more. One of the main problems with using too many tools is being overwhelmed. When many project management tools are used, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. Employees can quickly lose sight of important tasks because they have to constantly jump back and forth between different tools and adjust their way of thinking.
This jumping back and forth inevitably costs time. However, time loss is not only a problem in this scenario: each tool needs to be managed, which requires time and resources to ensure that they are all up to date and working properly. However, it is not only the use of many tools that is a hindrance at this level. Especially if each tool has its own database, this can lead to inconsistent and contradictory data. This in turn can lead to confusion and errors in the project team. 
Furthermore, it can make collaboration difficult, as each team member uses a different tool and thus different shortcuts or approaches. In other words, too many tools can lead to poorer results. 
In addition, each new tool or instrument requires staff training. Since a certain level of know-how is required to use the tools effectively, this leads to a loss of time on the one hand, but there is also another problem: if too many tools are used but savings are made elsewhere, namely in training, and staff do not have the necessary knowledge to use the tools properly, this can lead to frustration and inefficient use.

How can the problem be solved?

It makes sense to try out new tools from time to time in order to possibly find better alternatives for your company or to check whether you are still satisfied with the established tools. However, this can lead to using too many tools at the same time. You can find out how to deal with this here:
  1. Review the need for each tool: sometimes tools are used that are not essential, or several tools are used that all essentially do the same thing. A thorough review can help eliminate redundant or unnecessary tools.
  2. Combining tools: In some cases, multiple tools can be combined to reduce the number. For example, project management software that offers a variety of functions can be used instead of using separate tools for time management, resource management and task management. However, this is not possible for all tasks, and you should consider in advance which tasks are suitable for a combined solution and which are not in order to select the right tools.
  3. Staff training: It is important to ensure that your staff know how to make the best use of the tools they use. Through training you can ensure that your staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to work effectively.
  4. Ensure that tools can be synchronised: If you use different tools, make sure they are compatible with each other, that the same terms and abbreviations are used, and that the user interface is ideally similar so that your staff have the same foundation and as little time as possible is lost working with different software programmes.


It is not possible to make a blanket statement about whether a project uses too many or too few tools. Every project is different, and every project needs different types and different amounts of tools. Therefore, when planning your project, you should consider which areas you need a tool for, and which ones are suitable. This way you can also determine if there is one tool for several areas. It is also important that these can be synchronised with each other so that information does not have to be entered again in each area. 
If you notice that too many tools are being used, for example, because you can no longer keep track of what is going on, people are struggling to keep up, or tasks are being lost, it is time to take a critical look at the tools. After all, they should be a help in the project and not an obstacle. With these thoughts in mind, the best and most efficient number of tools can be found.

Too many tools in project management - The IAPM logo
Author: IAPM internal
Keywords: Project management, Project management software

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