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IT in Project Management - People versus Technology

IT in Project Management - People versus Technology 30.01.2019 - If information technologies are to be used in project management, it is ultimately always a question of weighing up which tasks are to be performed by people and which by algorithms or software. Man and technology appear like competitors, but their "use" serves the same goal, namely the success of the respective project. It is therefore important to find the best possible cooperation and an interplay of forces and strengths. George Sarpong gave some thought to this topic in the online mag Computerworld, which we summarize here.
 
The human factor remains decisive
 
For George Sarpong, it is clear that software can make project management much easier. In his article, however, he would like to point out that the most important success factor remains the human being and that even the best technology is not promising if it is not used by expert personnel. Projects are becoming ever more complex, implementation periods ever shorter and so the demands on project managers are increasing. Added to this are the digital challenges, which many see as a hurdle rather than a relief. However, programs such as Taiga, Project or Freedcamp can provide valuable services and simplify a lot of everyday project work if they are used purposefully. For his article, Sarpong talked to Peter Ottinger from the Swiss software company Inloox, among others. He is also of the opinion that comprehensive solutions in teamwork, task management and document management can be supported and significantly facilitated by digital tools. It was not uncommon for a program to be the leitmotif of a project that everyone involved could use as a guide in order not to lose track of things. Ottinger emphasizes that all software can only ever be a tool and that people (and thus project managers) still have to use their organizational talent skillfully.
 
Programs are only helpful tools
 
So far, no computer program has been developed that can define measurable project goals - to name just one example. In projects such as the Elbphilharmonie, for example, where so much went differently than planned, this comprehensive failure cannot be attributed to computer tools, but is largely due to inadequate project management. Martin Bialas, Consultant at Diventis and Training Manager at Digicom, agrees. He points out that problems in project management cannot be solved with programs. They can only be tools and support people in their task. Computers can be a great help for complex tasks with confusing amounts of data. However, a tool cannot be regarded as a rescue in chaotic projects.
 
Good technology and good employees
 
Good tools can be recognized by the fact that they facilitate the work of project managers. If all participants find the use of programs helpful and do not see any burden in it, progress can be made in the project. Acceptance of the tools is critical for Bialas, because if the project platform or unified program is not used by all team members, problems arise. These can be that, for example, different information bases occur. It may be necessary to convince the employees of the usefulness of the tool, which is usually easily possible with good programs. Just as important as the selection of suitable tools and programs, however, is the use of well-trained personnel.
The experts agree that a project never fails because of the selection of the wrong program, but only because either the program is not used correctly or the management fails in some other way. Defining project goals, working out strategies and planning is crucial for the success of a project. As a result, the training of project managers is all the more important. Professor Reinhard Riedl works at the Bern University of Applied Sciences for the transdisciplinary research centre Digital Society. He emphasizes that the determination of goals, opportunities and risks as well as costs are crucial. It must be decided at the beginning of a project whether traditional or agile methods are to be used so that project management has suitable methods at hand.
 
 
Certification and technical training
 
In order to be successful with these methods and techniques, it is extremely important that the respective project manager knows his craft. Of course, certification can make a contribution to this, precisely because very few project managers have studied project management itself, but come from many different disciplines. Sarpong's article only underlines again that the human component is decisive for the success of a project and that therefore good education and above all continuous further training should be obligatory and a priority for all project managers.

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