The Future of Project Management: Opinionated Software?

The Future of Project Management: Opinionated Software?

Project management software is a tool innate to good project management.  Even if you don’t use a software, you develop a system or set of tools to help stay organized.  The system or tools available are endless; overwhelming even and each system often assumes that you know the best way to customize your practices.  Customization seems like a good thing — the more you can do, the more powerful the system.  Or the systems are so simple to use that you need multiple systems to organize the varying components of a project.  We think there’s a sweet spot in the future of project management and that’s in opinionated software.

Opinionated Software tells you what you should be doing.

Opinionated software is exactly as it sounds — it believes things should be done a certain way and it guides you through that.  It lives in the middle ground of the software world.   An intuitive system with just enough customization to make it the most applicable to your work.

Choice and Customization is overwhelming

In 2000, two psychologists based out of California released a study article regarding choice.  Their study set up a display of jam offerings. On one instance, they would offer 24 jam varieties and on another only 6.

On the day that 24 jam varieties were offered, 60% of people stopped by to sample the jams.  Only 40% on the day of 6 jams. If we stopped here, we’d decide that more must be better — but in Business, stopping by doesn’t pay the bills.  We know we’re really onto something when our customers are willing to pay for our products.

Out of the customers stopping by for 24 flavors, only 3% purchased.  When 6 were on display, 30% bought jam.

While choice is appealing at first, it’s overwhelming when it comes to purchase.
 It’s easy to feel lost and unsatisfied wondering, “what did I miss out on by not choosing option #2?”

Harvard Business Review describes the consequences of too many options:

Choice is good for us, but its relationship to satisfaction appears to be more complicated than we had assumed. There is diminishing marginal utility in having alternatives; each new option subtracts a little from the feeling of well-being, until the marginal benefits of added choice level off. What’s more, psychologists and business academics alike have largely ignored another outcome of choice: More of it requires increased time and effort and can lead to anxiety, regret, excessively high expectations, and self-blame if the choices don’t work out. When the number of available options is small, these costs are negligible, but the costs grow with the number of options. Eventually, each new option makes us feel worse off than we did before.

What does this have to do with project management?

This may be the part where you’re wondering how this relates to Project management software or the future of project management.  Sure, project management isn’t jam; yet the choices of software and approaches are equally overwhelming and bloated.  Project management has two types of systems out there right now: too much or too little. You can either expect to do everything or barely anything and you’re expected to know how to do it.

This leaves you either spending too much time planning or too little time planning.  Maybe just bored and unwilling to plan. Or using three systems instead of one. Could you do it faster? You don’t know.  Could you do it better? You don’t know — yet all the advertising will tell you that’s what they’ll do for you.

Project management is a tool to ensure that your deliverables are done right, on time, on budget.  If you spend all your time trying to set up your project management (or if you’re setting it up wrong), you’re losing time doing.

Our motto here is that if you’re busy, you’re doing it wrong.

If you are “busy,” something unplanned happened to your project and altered one of the dimensions of the iron triangle: Scope, Time/Schedule or Cost/Resources. These “unplanned” things happen in every project all the time and they should not come as a surprise but should be baked into your planning and delivery process.

We’re project and product managers ourselves.  We’ve used the other systems and tools. We’re predicting that the future of project management is in doing less so you can do more.  That means balanced and opinionated solutions are key.  This is how we got to Leantime.  We’re the first opinionated open source project management system and we’re here to get you building.

Let’s recap.

Choice is Good.  Too much is bad. Too little in Project Management keeps us unplanned.  Opinionated software is the future. Say Hello to Leantime.
Think we’re on to something?  Check it out.

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