A few days back I was just having casual discussions with a family friend of ours. The topics of discussion were ranging from our kids, their studies, their involvement in extra-curricular activities and then gradually drifted to our work places, our present assignments and projects and deliveries in the office and how they were keeping us occupied for a major portion of our day, and very often keeping us engaged at our homes too, at least in terms of mind share.
My friend expressed interest in knowing more about our integrated project management software titled TouchBase and I was sharing our software & solution’s various features and features in general about any project management software.
Now this was the point when our discussions became interesting and I found him to be intently listening, and it was then that I sensed that he was earnestly waiting for me to pause, such that he could share something, of which I had no clue.
Well, at my first pause, he did admit that he wanted to share something. For the benefit my readers, he was an enterprise learning solutions trainer in the 1990s and associated with the Tata Group, a very large business conglomerate in India.
He was a very sought after trainer in that period, especially in the field of project management software trainings. He shared the following incident, which I have chosen to narrate in his own words:
“I always used to love interacting with medium and large enterprises and conduct training on various software and programming languages. I incidentally laid my hands on Microsoft Project 4.0 (MS Project 4.0), a very popular project management software in the early years of 1995-1996’s. While project management as a concept was not new, the use of project management software like MS Project and a few others were only gaining popularity and finding use in IT companies doing software development and providing software services.
Microsoft Project not only had all the basic features of any project management software, viz., Gantt charts, PERT, critical path method (CPM is the path if followed, a delay of even a day would cause the delay of the entire project), reports, scheduling and conflict management of resources, task management and timesheets, but very interestingly could run on Windows NT 3.1 and 3.5, the networking versions of Windows OS in those years.
It so happened that one day my company received a call from McKinsey & Co., a leading global consultancy firm, seeking some consulting and training help. Their Indian team was implementing a performance improvement project (PIP) at TELCO (the flagship engineering services and locomotives manufacturing company of the Tata group) located at Tatanagar, Jamshedpur, a city in the state of Jharkhand, India. The PIP project was to impact several processes and several hundred people at TELCO. The McKinsey team was however facing severe scheduling constraints and resource conflicts, while working on their project management software.
I was the obvious choice to be sent to understand their challenges and provide a resolution too. I remember having received a very royal treatment (being in my early 20’s I was obviously enjoying all the attention being received), a chauffeur driven car picking me from office, dropping me to New Delhi airport, then a similar treatment from the Calcutta (now Kolkata) airport to TELCO Tatanagar, stay in the TELCO guest house and back again. Alongside all this came a huge amount of responsibility and accountability. I had set out to leave the place after finding and recommending a solution. I had only 48 hours at my disposal to find a solution.
Well, the elements which caught my attention when I stepped in the TELCO and the project implementation site was the clockwork precision of the young team of McKinsey and their neat and well defined algorithmic approach to their problems which they were witnessing. They were four in all, all in their early 20’s and alumni from the prestigious Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). Together we laid out a neat plan for the next forty eight hours on how we intended to address the issues, and started to put it into place.
I applied all my skills and hands-on experience of working on a project management software, and got on to first dissect the issues and study them piecemeal with a microscopic view of where the scheduling constraints were occurring, all the while facing a constant bombardment of the why, what, how, when by the McKinsey team. With fierce dedication and determination and no remembrance of food and breaks, I was finally able to resolve all the resource conflicts first, and once this was done the scheduling constraints got taken care with ease (this was an early realization that project management software don’t run in silos, and all the modules are integrated and interrelated). All this happened with just less than two hours remaining of the dateline!
We were glad that the mission had been accomplished. The team at McKinsey was obviously happy because they had received a solution and a few days later it was my turn to be happy. I received a letter of appreciation from McKinsey & Co., which I cherished for a long time. “
My friend had been speaking all this while and I was smiling and listening to him, because he had narrated all these in a single breath. I was however overwhelmed with the thought if a project management software of the yester years could be able to fulfill the needs of today’s businesses. In the present times, a project management software will have to have many more enriched features including compatibility and portability with other software, with the ever increasing demands of a complex business environment, I kept thinking…
TouchBase from ProductDossier is such Integrated Project Management solution. With innovative features like Project Planning, Execution, Dashboards, Issues, Collaboration, Timesheet Management, Document Management, Project Financials, and Meeting Management and much more, Users can easily manage their projects very successfully within planned time, cost and resources”.
Meet you again, soon, with more.