Thomas Carlyle, a famous historian and author, stated, Man is a tool-using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. As the world continues to become more complex, it is even more important for people to develop and use tools, especially for managing important projects. Project management tools and techniques assist project managers and their teams in carrying out work in all nine knowledge areas. For example, some popular time management tools and techniques include Gantt charts, project network diagrams, and critical path analysis.
Table 1-1 lists some commonly used tools and techniques by knowledge area. You will learn more about these and other tools and techniques throughout this text. A 2006 survey of 753 project and program managers was conducted to rate several project management tools. Respondents were asked to rate tools on a scale of 1 5 (low to high) based on the extent of their use and the potential of the tools to help improve project success.
Super tools were defined as those that had high use and high potential for improving project success. These super tools included software for task scheduling (such as project management software), scope statements, requirement analyses, and lessons learned reports. Tools that are already extensively used and have been found to improve project importance include progress reports, kick-off meetings, Gantt charts, and change requests.
These super tools are bolded in Table 1-1. 12 Of course, different tools can be more effective in different situations. It is crucial for project managers and their team members to determine which tools will be most useful for their particular projects. Despite its advantages, project management is not a silver bullet that guarantees success on all projects.
Project management is a very broad, often complex discipline. What works on one project may not work on another, so it is essential for project managers to continue to develop their knowledge and skills in managing projects. It is also important to learn from the mistakes and successes of others.