Do you think that professionals should be tool agnostic? Or should they come with their own set of tools?

Let’s imagine you have a leakage at home. After you have done your research and got some recommendations, a good plumber comes to your place to fix this leakage. You are letting him know that you have a good set of hammers and just bought a new screwdriver. You are expecting the plumber to be professional and to provide service using any tools. The plumber confirms that as long as you pay his bill, he is ready to use your hammers and a new screwdriver to fix the leakage.

It will take much longer for the plumber to fix the leakage and he probably will damage your house as well. However, at the end of the day, you pay for his extra hours, and the damage is not his issue. He even could give you a contact of an excellent handyman to fix the damage (refer to as continues consulting service).
Yes, this analogy is applicable only if a project requires a high level of project management maturity.
Projects with low level of complexity, unlimited resources and predictable risks don’t require advanced tools to optimise delivery. However, high maturity could not be achieved without professional PM tools that support advanced PM methods and best practices.
Many organisations have a mandatory scheduling tool, typically MS Project / Project Online (MSP) or Primavera (P6). Some project management practices and methods (like CPM, EVM) are supported by these tools and applied in all sort of projects and portfolios. However, there are also PM practices that only partially and/or inconsistently supported by MSP and P6.
This inconsistent support of PM best practices in these tools becomes so critical that leads to some clear preference for one or another tool in certain type of projects and even for some industries:
• Infrastructure Projects (Primavera),
• Technology Projects (MSP),
Also, there are Project Management techniques and methods which are recognised as the best practice but are not supported by MSP and P6 and could not be applied without additional tools. Example of these techniques are: Quantity based scheduling, Skill scheduling, Conditional scheduling, PERT, Resource Critical Path, Monte Carlo Analysis, Success Probabilities Analysis, Linier Reporting, etc.
If a scheduling consultant or a consulting company is “tool agnostic”, it could be either a very good or a very bad sign. Ask them what other tools they use to complement Primavera and Project Online. If their response is “MSP and P6 are very good and no other tools are required” then most likely they are system driven, not methodology driven. Be prepared to pay extras for their services and to compromise project delivery optimisation with “work arounds”. However, if they are able to present their professional “toolkit”, it is a sign that they are ready to apply best practices and develop optimised program and portfolio delivery plan.

Show me your scheduling “toolkit” and I can tell you who you are.

Alex Lyaschenko

PMO | Portfolio Planning & Delivery | PMP | P3O Practitioner | AgilePM Practitioner | Six Sigma