Why always that tool-question?

If I ask you to close your eyes and imagine a carpenter, you’ll probably see a man with a hammer or a nice serrated saw. For a plumber, water pump pliers would come to mind.

The misleading factor of a tool

Last year, scientists discovered tools in Kenya that appear to be 3.3 million years old. It’s very special because the oldest human is approximately 2.8 million years old. This indicates that tools were already made by the predecessor of homo sapiens, maybe even Lucy herself, who lived in Africa about 4 million years ago.

Since prehistoric times, tools have been very interesting. However, these days organisations seem to think that as long as the right tools are used, a project management office (PMO) can be an added value to an organisation. An clerical worker can then operate the tool, and the PMO is ready. Now, all projects will run smoothly!

The solution is a well-designed PMO

In my work at MOJEO, I run into that line of thought almost everywhere. It can be very useful to make tools available for a PMO. But without insight into how projects are managed within an organisation, which maturity level the organisation has in the field of project management, which bottlenecks are specific to an organisation, where the quick wins are, which processes are crucial, and what an organisation’s strategy is for the mid-term period, tools won’t be able to help to create the desired improvement.

On the contrary, I would even go as far as to claim that the tools only stop you from creating the desired improvement in the short term. Tools are there to help an expert to carry out his job more easily, tools are not the solution to a problem. The solution needs to come from the expert, if you don’t do that, there’s a good chance that you’ll run into a wall with the PMO soon.

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