Task Management vs. Project Management

The Project Management Disguise
Rob Newbold

Usually, when you evaluate project management software, you’ll want to know how well it will actually help you manage your projects. That may seem obvious, but unfortunately, project management software is often really task management software in disguise. So it’s important to understand how the software would really help you manage projects.

What’s the difference?

To manage projects, usability, features, and task management are definitely important. But project management software should also allow you to:

  • Visualize your entire project and its deliverables.
  • See those projects and deliverables in the context of your portfolio.
  • Account for the relationships between tasks—task dependencies, resources, individual users—and show the impact of those relationships on the overall project.
  • Make tradeoffs between projects, for example moving resources from one project to another.
  • Model, visualize, and manage the variation that you know is part of your reality.
  • Report true status based on what’s happening on the ground, rather than encouraging you to construct a picture based on guesswork.

When you’re looking at a software product, walk through some of the ways that you plan to use the software to see if the product is just designed around tasks, or if it gives you the true project management capabilities you need.

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