At least a dozen times a week, I pitch someone on why they should use web2project. Depending on whether they’re a developer, a project manager, or a small business owner, I tune the pitch appropriately. I call it a pitch.. not because I want someone to buy web2project – it’s free for anyone to download and use – but because I’m an organizer and an entrepreneur and I want to “keep the sword sharp.”

More importantly.. a few times every week, I tell people not to use web2project.

Yes, you read that correctly: I tell people why they shouldn’t use web2project.

There are many reasons, but three particular reasons stand out:

Because they’re a jerk. Yes, like any place on the internet, occasionally, we attract some jerks. They tell us how we’re doing everything wrong. They tell me how much better web2project would be if it was in Rails. And generally their only contribution is antagonizing our regular members who are trying to get their job done and occasionally lending a hand. As noted on our “About us” page:

The community should be open with clear expectations for behavior while encouraging constructive criticism

That’s right, we have expectations for behavior. They’re not as explicit as “thou shalt not top post” but we expect respect, PG-13 language, and generally constructive comments that help one another. Remember, we were all newbies at some point. So far we’ve never had to ask someone to leave the community – and I sincerely hope it never does – but there have a number of people I’ve encouraged towards other projects that better fit their needs.

Because web2project doesn’t fit their needs. We’re focused on building the best possible software that fits our and our community’s needs. It’s possible that our features don’t match your needs. It may be a fundamental disagreement on how things should work or it could be an architectural tradeoff. Either way, different priorities produce different results and it’s nothing to be offended about. We have purposely built an extensible system so our Add On Module community (downloads) may have already done it. But at the end of the day, it’s possible that we can’t do what you need. Luckily, even if web2project is the wrong path for you, our community is friendly, sharp, and well-informed and will attempt to point you in a better direction.

And finally, because web2project doesn’t teach project management. Web2project doesn’t require or describe a particular way of running a project, assigning tasks, managing people, estimating tasks, or anything else. It is simply a tool. It’s well-structured enough to fool some organizations to believe it prescribes a process, but it doesn’t. It simply captures information from your processes. Regardless,  it will teach you project management as effectively as a hammer will teach you to build a house.

There’s a more subtle point in there too. Many people contact me after being their boss says “we need project management!” At that point, they don’t have a project management process in place. They don’t know exactly what they want to do the process they don’t have. And they don’t know how to do what they don’t know to do for the process they haven’t defined. Therefore, no matter what web2project does or might do, it’s not the right answer. Even worse, somehow now it’s our fault and we suck.

No, I don’t understand that one either.

The funny thing about these.. none of them are specific to web2project! Every single issue can apply to any tool out there. It doesn’t matter if you use pen & paper, Excel, Microsoft Project, or that custom-system-that-one-guy-built-but-now-he-doesn’t-return-your-calls. If you don’t know your goals or how to get there, you will fail. And not because your group is “unmanageable”.. you just haven’t defined success!

So please do yourself a favor. Before you explore any tool, figure out what you need, define and implement the process you’re trying to support, don’t be a jerk… and then check out web2project. You’ll have a better day and we’ll be more likely to help you. 🙂