When You’re a Hammer…

A look at the Project Management Tools and their Use

By Carl Pritchard

© Pritchard Management Associates 2010, all rights reserved

I was at summer camp the first time I really came  to the realization that Dad was right.  There’s a tool for everything, and every tool has a particular use.  For the next couple of years, I hope to populate this blog with insights on effective “tricks of the trade” for implementing project management tools.  It’s wonderful that folks find different ways to deploy the tools of project management, but it’s frustrating when they don’t realize that they’re bending the tools to their will, rather than exercising them for best use.

The realization I mentioned above came in crafts class at camp, pounding out little metallic ashtrays.  (There, that officially dates me).  All of  the other guys were hammering away at their the tiny rounded rubber hammers provided for this use.  I decided that if the round rubber hammer would do the job, a metal ball peen hammer would be even better!  Their ashtrays turned out rounded, smooth and perfect.  Mine looked like it had been fed through a chipper-shredder.

Every profession has the tools of its craft.  The challenge comes not when you know how to use the tool, but when you’ve found shortcuts to use or ways to abuse the tools.  In the “tools” category of my blog, my intent is to ensure that I stress both, but identify them as such.  I don’t mind that my kitchen strainer has been used to find snails in our pond, but I do want to know that it’s been abused that way so that I can take the proper redress (and run it through the dishwasher twice before our next pasta dinner).

As with all of my posts here, I’d like to stress one thing.  The posts are not the sum total of what I know.  But they represent what you need to know in terms of their ability to serve you both through their intended and unintended uses.

The Eastern proverb says When you’re a hammer…all the world’s a nail. My intent over the months and years to come will be to address what kind of hammer you are…and when all the world’s an ashtray.