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In the 2016 Professional Services Maturity™ Benchmark survey, Service Performance Insight affirms that human capital alignment – i.e. the ability to attract, hire, retain and motivate a quality workforce – continues to be both a critical objective and a key challenge for organizations.
 
Obviously, both Human Capital Management (HCM) systems and organizational policies are big pieces of the puzzle, and go a long way towards deciding whether organizations achieve and maintain human capital Project Management and Human Capital Alignmentalignment. Less obviously, however, is the influential role – for better or for worse – that project management software plays in this process and experience.

 
Project Management Software Defines Work Itself

Project management software is not just a technological asset or product, which is why it should not be put in the same bucket as other solutions that, while valuable, are designed to enhance work. Project management software goes much deeper than this, since it is the platform and paradigm through which employees engage each other, customers and stakeholders. In other words, project management software does not just govern work: it defines work itself.
 
In this context, the connection between human capital alignment and project management software is clear, and for organizations saddled with inferior project management software, unfortunately the implication is daunting as well: they are struggling to achieve and maintain human capital alignment. Their HCM systems and human capital policies move in one direction (pro-employee), but their project management software moves in another (anti-employee). 
 
Yet the opposite is also true: organizations empowered with effective project management software are driving human capital alignment, and leveraging it as a core competence and competitive advantage. We know this because such organizations have an uncommon ability to keep current employees engaged, attract top talent into the organizations, and regularly exceed customer expectations – and do it all by spending less than their less capable counterparts and competitors.
 

5 Characteristics of Effective Project Management Software

And so, this begs the question: what is effective project management software in the context of driving human capital management? There are five integrated characteristics that combine to make a transformative difference:
 

1. Visibility
Effective project management software delivers 360-degree, real-time driven visibility so that teams can instantly identify – or better yet, avoid – bottlenecks, launch workarounds, exploit opportunities, and continuously improve how they get things done. This dramatically improves efficiency, engagement and resource utilization.
 
2. Collaboration
Effective project management software merges the power of the cloud with social communications to deliver real-time updates and insights, which in turn supports collaboration in the context of work – vs. “collaboration for the sake of collaboration” or (even worse) endless status meetings; both of which are as destructive to organizational and project success, as they are to employee engagement and morale.
 
3. Transparency
Effective project management software supports a transparent (i.e. flat, democratic, information-driven) organizational design that is necessary for superior human capital management – particularly when it comes to recruiting, retaining and developing Millennials. Top performers are apparent and do not have to worry that their outstanding contributions will be overlooked, while those willfully pulling their teams down have no silo or island upon which to hide.   
 
4. Customization  
Effective project management does not lose sight of the fundamental, defining fact that it exists to serve end users – not the other way around. As such, it is inherently customizable and configurable (e.g. business rules, workflows, automation), and flexibly wraps around teams and work as both of these change over time.
 
5. Simplicity
Effective project management software does not view simplicity and sophistication as mutually exclusive. Rather, they are seen as compliments that can – and frankly must – work together by integrating robust, yet easy-to-use tools and features that make work better and faster, and make talented end users more successful and satisfied.

The Bottom Line

Naturally, project management software is not a magic wand that instantly transforms human capital management from bad to great. As noted above, HCM systems and organizational policies will continue to do much of the heavy lifting in this area, and pave the way for “Employer of Choice” status.
 
However, project management software does indeed play a major role in supporting or blocking this coveted and highly profitable goal. The difference in organizational destiny is rooted in whether such software is effective or inferior. The former is marked by offering all five characteristics described above. The latter is marred by offering none in any meaningful way. 
  

Learn More

At Clarizen, we have designed our project management software from the ground up to enable visibility, collaboration, transparency, customization and simplicity – which is why thousands of organizations around the world are embracing it to drive performance, results and success, and human capital alignment. Learn more by taking a free 30-day trial.

Angela Bunner
Angela has 17 years of experience in the project portfolio management space, mostly with Oracle, as well as with NetSuite, before joining Clarizen where she is a Director of Product Strategy and Sales Engineering. Angela has extensive industry experience in engineering & construction, professional services, aerospace & defense, public sector, as well as working with embedded service organizations such as IT and marketing PMOs.