QUANTITATIVE FACTORS - Strategic Planning for Project Management

The third factor in achieving excellence in project management is the implementation and acceptance of project management tools to support the methodology.

Some companies are quick to implement PERT/CPM tools, but many are reluctant to accept other mainframe or personal computer network software for project planning, project cost estimating, project cost control, resource scheduling, project tracking, project audits, or project management information systems.

Mainframe project management tools have been resurrected in the past few years. These new mainframe products are being used mainly for total company project control. However, executives have been slow to accept these sophisticated tools. The reasons for this are:

  • Upper management may not like the reality of the output.
  • Upper management uses their own techniques rather than the system for the planning, budgeting, and decision-making process.
  • Day-to-day planners may not use the packages for their own projects.
  • Upper management may not demonstrate support and commitment to training.
  • Use of sophisticated mainframe packages requires strong internal communication lines for support.
  • Clear, concise reports are lacking even though report generators exist.
  • Mainframe packages do not always provide for immediate turnaround of information.
  • The business entity may not have any project management standards in place prior to implementation.
  • Implementation may highlight middle management’s inexperience in project planning and organizational skills.
  • Sufficient/extensive resources required (staff, equipment, etc.) may not be in place.
  • Business environment and organizational structure may not be appropriate to meet project management/planning needs.
  • Software utilization training without project management training is insufficient.
  • Software may be used inappropriately as a substitute for the extensive interpersonal and negotiation skills required by project management.
  • The business entity may not have predetermined the extent and appropriate use of the software within the organization.
The following recommendations can help accelerate the maturity process:
  • Educating people in the use of sophisticated software and having them accept its use is easier if the organization is already committed to project management.
  • Executives must provide standards and consistency for the information they wish to see in the output.
  • Executive knowledge (overview) in project management principles is necessary to provide meaningful support.
  • Not everyone needs to become an expert in the use of the system. One or two individuals can act as support resources for multiple projects.

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