Five Ideas: Project Management
What skills and technology do you need to make sure you get the job done now?
A recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that companies linking project management goals to strategic business objectives gain significant advantages over their competitors. The report, which was sponsored by Oracle and based its findings on a survey of more than 200 senior executives in project-intense industries like industrial manufacturing and aerospace, also found that respondents have a keen interest in project management best practices, with a majority saying that they’re continually working to improve this part of their operations. “But finding the best way to address [project management] challenges isn’t always straightforward,” warns Katherine Dorr Abreu, EIU senior editor. Here, then, is expert advice for managing your projects to success in today's economy.
“The easiest way to describe the benefit of enterprise project portfolio management is that participants deserve a single version of the truth. They need to know what's going on now, what's taken place, what transactions have happened, how well they've done to date—and to be able to couple that with a real model of what's going to happen in the future so they can explore options and alternatives. And you want to have this EPPM system tied into the business processes that already exist in the corporation today, so you're not inventing new processes—you're taking advantage of the ones that are there.” — Joel Koppelman, Oracle GM and SVP, Primavera Global Business Unit
“With a portfolio management solution, leaders throughout the organization can identify where efficiencies could be gained by identifying synergies between investments across the organization that highlight how resources can be deployed to get more work accomplished faster. For example, skill sets available for similar projects could be deployed at the same time for site selection so the permitting process can be streamlined. This visibility across the entire portfolio further enables more efficient use of resources, reducing the strain on the lopsided resource supply-demand equation.”—Guy Barlow, Industry Strategist, Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, Oracle
“This release [Oracle Primavera Portfolio Management 8.0 ] has been coined the Enterprise Portfolio GPS as it will help you better navigate the fast-paced changes you're facing today. Our GPS system here is really used for managing your portfolio to enable you to [identify] your strategic direction [so you can] prioritize, select, and fund the right investments that support it. It also helps you as you move forward into your execution and control phases to continuously evaluate your progress to your destination so you can make the appropriate course corrections along the way” —Maureen Clifford, Principal Product Manager, Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit
“You cannot succeed without the softer skills of project management—conflict management, negotiation, diplomacy, managing stakeholder expectations. Those things are a basic requirement for public sector project management. You have less authority than private sector peers, so you need to be able to induce behavior rather than order it. It also requires a certain emotional maturity, something that the Standish Group’s annual report on IT project management recently listed as a critical factor for project success—The other thing I would advise is to pay a lot of attention to the requirements phase, particularly for IT projects. You need to develop a very disciplined requirements development process and make sure that it is consistently used. It allows the project manager and business analyst to hide behind the process—fighting bureaucracy with bureaucracy.”—David Wirick, author of Managing Public Sector Projects
“The recession may help make project management practices more robust: The economic crisis has led to greater scrutiny of how projects are managed, and has directly affected company perceptions of the value of project management competencies. This change in focus has, in turn, led to a more structured and consistent application of project management practices across industries over the last two years. Compared with two years ago, respondents are investing more time in project planning and due diligence (40%); conducting more frequent project reviews to assess risks, milestones and overall value (37%); and measuring quantitative and qualitative project outcomes more frequently (38%). It remains to be seen whether this commitment will hold strong as the economy improves.” —A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit