Project Management vs. Task Management – Is there a “right” way?

Michael Payne | August 10th, 2005 | , ,

So what exactly is Project Management? Well, that depends on who you ask. If you ask a Developer for the City of Los Angeles or someone fulfilling Defense Contracts, the craft is going to look a whole lot different than say a 6 person web development shop…or a freelancer for that matter.

Is it really Gantt Charts, earned value analysis, PERT, and resource allocation? Do I have to use enterprise project management software? If you feel comfortable with all of those things and if they help you get your projects done on time and under budget why not…..but you don’t have to do that.

The PMI, PMBOK track makes a lot of sense for a lot of Project and Program managers. For most small companies, it’s all too overwhelming and makes it harder to get stuff done. Go to Project World sometime and see if the room feels in tune with the problems of a small nimble company.

For the small company it often comes down to the standard project management cycle:

Predict >> Track >> Learn

For Pelago, that means:

Create a contract based on some sort of specification >> Track the actual tasks and effort >> Take what you learned into the next contract/project.

.. but the tools needed for that cycle can be a lot less cumbersome.

Project Management for our small team is less about Gantt charts with 600 lines items and a complicated Work Breakdown Structure. Who besides the person who made that beast can even understand it? It is about getting work down, empowering our employees to have every piece of information they need to keep trucking, tracking that work, communicating openly with our clients, having real-time status of what’s going on, and getting meaningful reporting from the whole cycle.

That is why we built our “task tracker” and that’s why we are rebuilding it as “Intervals,” an online project management system that monitors daily projects and tasks. We haven’t found anything that is robust enough to meet our needs that isn’t overwhelming to use. We’re trying to hit the sweet spot between so simple it doesn’t do enough and so complicated no one will use it.

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A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

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Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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