There are lots of methods and tools that promise comprehensive and complete project data. Different project management tools can record all processes in real time, documentation systems can collect completely new data and make it comparable to each other, and some apps can allow your employees to easily document all work steps through any smart device. You may even utilize a consulting firm to perform a detailed analysis of your workflows and identify ways to be more productive. All of these methods and tools have one goal: give you more project information in the hopes of helping you better manage projects. That sounds great, right? Now that you have all this project data you can finally get your projects under control and on track, right?
Before you jump on the project data bandwagon and start putting RFID chips in your employees, take a quick step back. Is the problem really that you don’t have enough project data? Or is the problem that you don’t have the right project data?
Let’s say you have all the project data possible. Now imagine your only Senior Java Developer is scheduled to work full-time on two different projects at the same time. Is it helpful to know that the Senior Java Developer takes an average of 2.8 minutes longer on her break than the Junior Developer? Or, imagine your company promised a customer a project would be completed in three months, but the development team in charge of the project estimates it will take at least six months. After this promise, a new customer comes along with a new project that only the development team can execute. Does it matter that your Senior Java Developer can type three times faster than any other developer on your team?
You can probably see what we’re getting at. Too much data isn’t helpful when managing projects. When you’re lost in the woods, you don’t need to know if you’re surrounded by pine trees or oak trees; you need a map. Successful project portfolio management isn’t about having all the data, it’s about having the right data.