Project management is a big challenge for businesses large and small. A recent industry survey indicates that over 50 percent of all projects that the average enterprise is engaged in are considered complicated, and 40 percent are priced at over US$1 million. A roundtable discussion of projects and technology reveals how Oracle customers and experts are grappling with project management.
One of the biggest issues facing Mustang Engineering, which does project management and engineering around the globe, is connectivity. A successful project depends on keeping diverse teams connected at all times. Fair Isaac, a decision management firm, also is becoming more global, but it points to regulatory controls as a factor in increasing project costs. It depends on new technologies for success, including real-time collaboration, videoconferencing, and conference calls.
Collaboration and connectivity are common challenges, but some firms are reluctant to invest in tools to enhance project collaboration and create project management best practices. One cause is inertia, while others point to problems managing project interdependence among dispersed project teams.
Projects do fail, and there are various reasons for this lack of success. Some projects are very complex without clear expectations, while other projects are hampered by priorities that are altered midproject. Most project managers agree that to ensure project management success, it is critical to select the right tools from the beginning, coupled with effective communication.
According to research from the Center for Business Practices, companies large and small rely on an array of complex, expensive projects to drive their business forward. A survey of project managers and other project influencers (such as business and office managers and executives) found that more than 50 percent of all enterprise projects are considered complex and 40 percent cost more than US$1 million. To take a closer look at the project management challenges facing many enterprises, Profit: The Business of Technology assembled a group of Oracle customers and experts to discuss projects, technology, and the intersection of the two.
Profit: Projects are getting more complex, as is enterprise software. Is technology evolving at the same rate as the projects it's designed to manage?
Meg Lassarat, Chief Financial Officer, Mustang Engineering: Mustang Engineering [based in Houston, Texas] does project management and engineering around the world, and we're a people-oriented, project-driven company. The task of finding oil and gas around the world is becoming more complicated. We're dealing with multinationals, large oil companies, as well as fabricators; layer on top of this the complexity and urgency of safety issues.
For the oil and gas industry, the technology leapfrogs about every three or four years. New technologies come out that help us find and bring to market oil and gas from more complex regions. The biggest challenge has been connectivity. We're working with diverse teams with different interests and different views, such as construction companies, engineering companies, oil companies, end users, pipeline companies—and keeping them all connected is what's key to a successful project.