I recently came across an interesting survey from Cognitive Technologies Inc that looked to investigate the correlation between project success and the type and ‘maturity’ of project management toolsemployed by organisations.

In order to analyse the results of the survey, Cognitive Technologies Inc made the differentiation between less mature project management tools, such as Microsoft Excel, and more mature project management tools, such as dedicated project management software. Interestingly, they found that organisations with more mature, sophisticated tools were more likely to have greater project success, higher annual revenues and undertake more projects per year.

So this got me thinking about the maturity of the project management tools we use. We know that project managers love to use Excel, and one of the main difficulties we often see with companies trying to implement a dedicated project management software solution is a reluctance of their employees to move away from Excel. But Excel is primarily a less ‘mature’ tool.

According to the survey, a mature tool should enable project managers to provide timely and sufficient information, track employee time in detail, and track project status in detail. This sort of maturity can only come from dedicated project management software that is specifically designed to perform all of these functions.

A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about why Excel could be costing you time and money. That was based on a time factor, where we demonstrated how IPM is faster and more efficient than Excel in some areas of project management. But now thanks to Cognitive Inc’s survey, there is a proven positive correlation between more advanced management tools and project success. And if there’s one thing project managers love, it’s project success.

The complexity of today’s project management practices demands something more than just Excel, and now we know that organisational profits and success could be worse off for those who continue to preserve using only Excel to manage projects. So now may be a good time to ask yourself, how mature are our project management tools? And should it be time for them to grow up?