Tools Don’t Matter

Apr 15th, 2007 by Meri in Project Management, Software

Every time I do a talk about project management, someone asks me what the “right” software is for the job. I love being asked this, because it’s an important topic.

My honest belief is that tools don’t matter.

Project management is about people. Picking some all-singing, all-dancing piece of software is not going to make things magically go right. It’s only when your processes are already working that the right software can help you make things run more smoothly and efficiently.

Net, focus first on getting the processes right. Then worry about selecting the best software for the job.

Keep in mind, however, that adoption is of supreme importance when selecting tools for project management. At the end of the day, you may need to compromise on features for the sake of pragmatism. It doesn’t help anyone if you have a fabulous project plan that no one can read, or an issue list that no one will update!


  • Couldn’t agree more. I think this stands for most knowledge endeavours as well.

    I think part of the reason is tools are quite personal, while processes by their nature are generally used by groups.

  • The corollary to that, though, is that tools matter intensely…if they get in your way.

  • Definitely agree people are what it’s all about.

    Tools can make or break though, particularly in the case of remote working. (and sadly, I’ve yet to find a simple & fast web-based tool that suits our workflow)

  • Hmm, I nearly agree. Virtually no tool will solve your problems, but a good process will to. However, the right tools to back that process (and it’s nearly always a bunch of smaller tools so you get a better “fit” to the process) will make the process smoother, and more easily adopted, and this in turn will mean people have less incentive to ignore it/work round it.

    “convenience is better than better”, and the right tools are very convenient, so convenient that you dont even think about using them