202302 Oct

Your Project Management Software Cant Save You


According to Frederic Taylor’s The Principles of Scientific Management, the goal of managing workers “should be to secure the maximum prosperity for the employer, coupled with the maximum prosperity for each employee.” At the same time that Taylor, a mechanical engineer, rose from the factory floor to become one of America’s first workplace narcs (or consultants), another engineer, Henry Gantt, popularized and codified the basics of the Gantt chart, a simple bar chart that turns a project’s schedule into a set of lines on an x- and y-axis, with time moving from left to right. Software that mimics a bygone way of setting up project dominoes is the source of our workplace frustration and the beginning of do-it-all solutions that end up simply making more work. Combine critical path with the US Navy’s PERT method, a similar system developed simultaneously, and project management has moved into the computer age. By the time software development becomes a more legitimate field to be managed (in the 1980s), we also have Fred Brooks’ “law,” which states that adding manpower to delayed programming projects only further slows them down. Scrums are possibly more revolutionary than critical path, kanban, or any of their precedents because they present a format that fits the functionality of small teams with shorter-term goals.

Source: Wired