The Blame Game

into-the-woodsOne of my favorite Broadway musicals is Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Near the end of this retelling of fairy tales—when many things have gone wrong and people have died—the remaining characters gather around and have a conversation (in song, of course) about whose fault it is. One by one, Jack (of beanstalk fame), the Baker, the Witch, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood defend themselves and refuse to take the blame fostered on them by the rest of the group. The song ends with all of them singing to each other:

You're responsible!
You're the one to blame!
It's your fault!

Clearly, there are no real answers in this story.

Project management should not play out like a Broadway musical. In any project, there is potential for human error. Perhaps someone types incorrect numbers into a spreadsheet, perhaps someone sends someone else the wrong files, perhaps someone approves a change order without first getting proper approval from the appropriate person, or perhaps someone deletes a document or contact record prematurely and doesn’t ‘fess up. Errors don’t have to be intentional to be problematic. There may come a point when something is wrong with the project and it becomes important to know who did what when.

That is when an audit log or audit trail is indispensable. Project Managers who use comprehensive software with audit features, such as the Spitfire Project Management System, need not engage in speculation.

Spitfire tracks

  • changes made to contact records, by whom and when,
  • changes made to system rules, by whom and when,
  • changes made to project documents, by whom and when,
  • document approvals, by whom and when,
  • changes made to the budget, by whom or what (change order, new subcontract, etc.) and when,
  • changes made to other related Microsoft Excel worksheets, by whom and when,
  • all documents and files emailed from the system, to whom and when.

In addition, Spitfire keeps all versions of files and identifies which is/was the latest approved version at any given date.

The point of such information is not so much to blame people, but to find out when and where mistakes were introduced, so they can be dealt with. Having audit trail information on hand, a project manager can pinpoint when a financial mistake started, or who needs to get correct files, or who needs to be prevented from approving documents, or what was accidentally deleted and when. Such information also indicates who is not to blame at all.

Aside from the blame game, there are other reasons why having audit trail tracking in a project management system makes sense:

  1. Companies who advertise the audit tracking features in their system find it serves as a deterrent against actual fraud.
  2. Knowing that “who did what when” is in the data serves as an incentive to project team members to be mindful when working in the system.
  3. Well documented records are a necessity if and when government organizations or lawyers challenge your work.

If your project management system does not provide complete audit trails and you’d like to see how the Spitfire Project Management System tracks its data, contact us for a free demo.

There really is no reason to play the blame game.


Risky Business

riskWhen starting a new project, everything looks shiny, bright and new. Everyone is focused on the end goal. However, it is the project manager’s job to look deeper into the project and identify the possible risks—not what will go wrong (because at this stage we all believe nothing will), but what could possibly go wrong. Without identifying risks, the project manager is not able to plan how to address any of these possible risks or prevent any risks.

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When It’s Broke


“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” — an English proverb credited to Bert Lance (1931-2013) in 1977.

I stick with this motto when it comes to almost everything, but most assuredly when it relates to the technology I use while doing business day-to-day. Do you want to see my productivity go down the toilet? Then change something that impacts my routine!

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It’s Time For New!

new new newIf there is a student or teacher in your household, you know that a new year has begun or is about to begin. Generally, people of all ages involved with traditional schools in the U.S. know that these weeks are about new: new teachers/students, new things to learn, new people to meet, new outfits to wear, new challenges and rewards to experience. For those who look forward to “new,” there is a certain excitement in the air.

There is a certain excitement and energy in the offices of Spitfire Management also.

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