Can we at least pretend we work on the web?

At the major corporation where I’m currently a contractor, the managers of our web team habitually remind us (and themselves presumably) that we operate outside many corporate boundaries. While it’s certainly true a lot of the time, we’re still amazing slow and corporate and, frankly, dumb in many other aspects.

One example, in my role as a contractor, I’m charged with prepping many different sites for launch. To launch them we must coordinate with the IT department. To date, IT has not figured out how to make sites resolve correctly with or without “www.” They launch only “www” so if you’re below the age of 40 and don’t type “www” when visiting sites, you’ll get an error.

They’re still trying to figure out how to budget this separate task. If you’re not an internet professional, you may not know: this is not a difficult task and should never be “separate.”

These bureaucratic challenges are par for the course. But then this happened:

Last week we had an 8am Monday morning meeting (something a real web team would never do. 8am? Monday?) to dicuss our project plans going forward. Following the unimaginative PowerPoint slides, they revealed our new project management tool:

An Excel spreadsheet.

ADDENDUM: Excel spreadsheets certainly have their places but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that project management is one of them. Basecamp is an online collaborative project management tool from 37signals. dotProject is an open-source project management tool that can be installed on your own web server. Likewise, ProjectPier (though I was never impressed with it). And I can’t wait to sink my teeth into TaskJuggler. OpenFire is an open-source collaborative server. Heck, even this Tiny To-Do List would be cool. These are solutions that take advantage of the accessibility of the web and the collaborative aspect of web projects. Think differently.