PM Earth

Tools for a Project Management Professional

06 February 2009

1.      Define Tool Requirements

2.      Evaluate Existing Internal Tools

3.      Evaluate Relevant External Tools

4.      Prepare Tool Adoption Schedule


Define tool requirements. The PMO must define both general and specific requirements for tools. General requirements apply to all tools. For example, all tools might be required to work in a standard project management software package such as either Microsoft Word® or Microsoft Excel®. On the other hand, specific requirements apply to some tool or just a single tool. For example, there might be a requirement that all tools used in vendor negotiations contain a particular disclaimer. Defining tool requirements ensures that the tools, once they meet these requirements, will work as intended.


Evaluate existing internal tools. Many tools are already in use within the organization, and some of them are acceptable for managing projects. Whenever possible, the PMO should use existing tools, making tools that already work available to the entire organization. This prevents unnecessary change and retraining. To do this, the PMO identifies all internal tools and performs a gap analysis on each tool. The gap analysis places each tool into one of four categories:

§       Acceptable as-is. The tool works, meets requirements, and will be adopted by the PMO.

§       Needs small changes. Often, a tool is very close to acceptable, but needs minor changes to work with the new methodology or standards. The tool is given minor modifications and adopted by the PMO.

§       Needs significant revision. Here, the tool is valuable, but not sufficient. It must be revised and the revised tool tested for effectiveness, efficiency, and acceptability to requirements.

§       Must be replaced. In this case, the existing internal tool cannot be made to work with the new methodology. The tool that will replace the existing one should be identified.

The status of each internal tool is documented in the gap analysis for internal tools in the Tools Execution Plan.


Evaluate relevant external tools. Project management tools are available from external sources, such as vendors and professional associations. In fact, the templates in MPMM™ are a full set of project management tools that can be deployed by a PMO. The PMO team should identify which external sources will be considered as sources of tools, and which tools will come from each source. This is documented in the gap analysis for external tools in the Tools Execution Plan.


Prepare tool adoption schedule. The last step in creating the Tools Execution Plan is to schedule the work of preparing the tools for publication.


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