Rethinking Outdated Project and Task Management

March 5, 2020 | By Samantha Varner

No matter the industry, deliverable, or approach, traditional project management has focused almost exclusively on coordinating work and not people.

While we focus on monitoring tasks, outcomes, deadlines, and spending, it’s easy to lose sight of how actual project portfolio management gets done by people. In the end, it’s our resources who will influence success or setbacks. This is why we have to understand and strategically deploy and manage resources with powerful tools.

No matter the industry, deliverable, or approach, traditional project management has focused almost exclusively on coordinating work and not people.

While we focus on monitoring tasks, outcomes, deadlines, and spending, it’s easy to lose sight of how actual project portfolio management gets done by people. In the end, it’s our resources who will influence success or setbacks. This is why we have to understand and strategically deploy and manage resources with powerful tools.

Project Management Needs a New Focus

Still, too many PMOs are designing projects with resources filled in last. We use outdated tools (spreadsheets that aren’t centralized) with clunky interfaces that force us to be task focused.

What’s the solution? Shifting our focus to resource management. Until we do, we’re going to continue losing crucial opportunities. For example, gathering data, assessing processes, and acting with strategic flexibility.

What else happens when PMOs focus too much on tasks and not on resource management? Our recent white paper digs into some common pain points:

  • The limits of task-oriented delegation that fail to consider organizational stability and longevity.
  • Impact Blindness and Initiative Overload that make us oblivious to the number and impact of in-progress initiatives.
  • Burnout, performance strain, and high turnover.
  • Schedule pressure that causes frequent delays and last-minute changes.

“Human capital is the essential component of the organization and depending on whether there is a proper combination of employees, assignment of tasks, trust, and motivation, very different results will be achieved.”


“Effects of Resource Management Regimes on Project Schedule” by Saad Al-jibouri. Published in the International Journal of Project Management.

This shift to resource management holds the potential to enhance decision-making, right-size delegation and capacity, and improve overall organizational sustainability. Read the entire white paper to see what the research says a new kind of resource management should actually look like.

The Future is Resource Management (White Paper Abstract)

Project management that has long been oriented to tasks and deadlines is showing its age and revealing a pressing need for a new focus on resources. Using outdated tools that lock us into thinking only in terms of work packages and timelines is leading to organization-wide errors, overload, burnout, resource competition, project delays, decreased productivity, and missed opportunities for retention.

This white paper uses the latest research in Project Management and Organizational Leadership to outline the causes and consequences of continuing to rely on outdated standards. This paper also guides us into resource management as the way forward for organizations seeking new tools powerful enough to allocate resources and build teams strategically, coordinate multiple complex projects, and build scenarios to enhance decision-making and invite creative thinking. Download the full paper for free.

ProSymmetry was founded in 2007 by passionate resource management experts. Since then we have continually strived to solve the resource management challenges that slow down, damage, and overwhelm organizations. We do this through our flagship product, Tempus Resource, which is used by Fortune 500 companies like Siemens, Airbus, Qualcomm and DELL, and was labeled a “resource management solution accessible to the masses” and was awarded the 2016 Cool Vendor by Gartner.

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