I was coming towards the end of a recent project management course when someone raised the above question. This guy was pretty clear that they were a waste of time, bureaucratic and offered no real benefit.
I asked the group to split into smaller groups and go away and discuss the merits or not of having project management templates.
The debate within the groups was very interesting and the temperature definitely increased a notch or two!
This is what they concluded:
- If you move jobs or are away ill, there is a record of what has happened so far. Hopefully, someone can quickly pick up where someone else left off which you cannot do if you have no paperwork
- If you do not document what you are doing how do you know that what you are doing is what you should be doing?
- They are part of the overall project governance process – they also leave an audit trail for internal and external audit purposes
- It can be used as a learning resource – others reading say a risk log can see the sorts of things that go into the documentation. The person reading it can go away and try and complete their forms based on their learning from reading.
- It provides a common way of managing and delivering projects. One of the keys to successful project management is to have repeatable processes (consistency) and using project management templates supports this.
- Marketing – you can use some of the documents for marketing your project to your key stakeholders.
- It helps focus attention when someone wants to make a change. Say someone wants to make a change that is clearly out of scope. You will need to use the paperwork to help you ensuring you do not deliver the required change unless of course it has gone through change control!
In the discussion that followed I did say that at a personal level I felt that there was no place for bureaucracy in project management. This went down well with the person who raised the issue.
I asked the person who raised the issue if he wanted the ‘right of reply.’ He bravely did saying that he felt that the templates were great for hiding behind the delivery of work….i.e. I cannot deliver as I am too busy filling in these forms. He could see some benefits but not as clearly as the rest of the group.
For a copy of the free project management templates we use on project management courses then simply download them here