People Over Process

Thank goodness your team has Slack to communicate when you aren’t meeting over Google Hangout to finish brainstorming on Evernote before making that perfect Asana timeline. Discussing your list of tasks you keep in Google Sheets, so that you can all be on the same page with your categories in Trello is helpful, too.

More and more now, teams have a host of tools for project management right at their fingertips. With the click of a button you can now delegate tasks, create timelines, share ideas and keep information organized. It’s almost as if with these tools you don’t have to worry about who is on your team!

But what about all those over-budget, behind-schedule, and less than satisfying deliverables that seem to be more common than not? A study by PwC found that out of 10,640 projects from 200 companies in 30 countries only 2.5% of the companies completed the projects they were planning on completing. The IT sector alone has an estimated 5% to 15% of project failures leading to $50 billion to $150 billion of loss in the US alone. Harvard Business Review found that of the almost 1,500 IT projects they studied, 27% were behind schedule and one in six were 200% over budget.

According to Gallup’s research, it’s not the explosion of digital project management tools that are at fault, it’s the lack of a people-managed approach.

After all, tools are helpful for sorting out those gritty details and tasks. But unfortunately, as Gallup found out, companies are putting their “practices before their people”, and it’s showing. Companies put so much emphasis on their processes and procedures that they overlook how important it is for employees to feel engaged with the project and company. As Gallup states, “... forcing team members to adapt to project management processes and procedures makes it more likely that the project will fail.” With bad project management, comes a significant waste of time, money and project potential.

Right now, tools are focused on laying out the specifics of the tasks at hand with detailed process and procedure oriented details. These are what Gallup calls the rational components of the project. The emotional components are not present. With every step of the project being laid out, the idea is to complete the steps. Complying with the plan becomes more important than results. In fact, the more employees are forced into new procedures, the even less emotionally engaged in the project they become. With this in mind, Gallup behavioral economics research suggests a different approach; behavior-based project management

Behavior-based project management? It’s a more PC way of saying “know and care about your people”. Gallup’s second research series on project management dives into what companies and project managers should be spending time on: emotional needs. Research has shown that without people’s emotional needs being met, there will be subpar performance and a much higher turnover. The most neglected questions seem obvious at first, but when you think about it, when was the last time these types of questions were addressed in your workplace?

Do team members feel like their opinions are heard and that they can safely express them?

Is there someone who recognizes team members and their good work?

Do project team members know exactly what is expected of them?

Do they care about each other, about quality, and about meeting the project's objectives?

These are just a sample of the types of things project managers need to understand when managing a team. The thing about these questions, is that while not rocket science, most project managers are not trained as people managers. They are trained as project managers. Even as project managers, they have tools to help them with the process and procedures of the tasks. So why aren’t there tools to bridge the gap to manage people? We saw that gap and felt passionately enough about the missing piece to successful project management that we created our own tool. Cloverleaf is another tool, but not for processes or procedures. It’s a people tool. It helps manage the unique personal and emotional capital that your team holds. By utilizing a tool to manage your people, and not just your process, you can improve your results, save and make money, all while your team works more productively. Check out your missing piece to the project management puzzle at

For blogs similar to this, check out Treat People Like Money and It’s Not Just Where You Sit