Project Management - Best Practices
Covering the latest developments in the project management field, Project Management Best Practices, Third Edition offers a must-have window into the issues and solutions facing corporate managers, project and team managers, engineers, project team members, and business consultants in today's global market.
Project Management - Best Practices
For almost 50 years, project management was viewed as a process that might be nice to have but not one that was necessary for the survival of the firm. Companies reluctantly invested in some training courses simply to provide their personnel with basic knowledge of planning and scheduling. Project management was viewed as a threat to established lines of authority, and in many companies only partial project management was used. This half-hearted implementation occurred simply to placate lower- and middle-level personnel as well as selected customers.
During this 50-year period, we did everything possible to prevent excellence in project management from occurring. We provided only lip service to empowerment, teamwork, and trust. We hoarded information because the control of information was viewed as power. We placed personal and functional interests ahead of the best interest of the company in the hierarchy of priorities, and we maintained the faulty belief that time was a luxury rather than a constraint.
By the mid-1990s, this mentality began to subside, largely due to two recessions. Companies were under severe competitive pressure to create high-quality products in a shorter period of time. The importance of developing a long-term trusting relationship with the customers had come to the forefront. Businesses were being forced by the stakeholders to change for the better. The survival of the firm was now at stake.
Today, businesses have changed for the better. Trust between the customer and contractor is at an all-time high. New products are being developed at a faster rate than ever before. Project management has become a competitive weapon during competitive bidding. Some companies are receiving sole-source contracts because of the faith that the customer has in the contractor's ability to deliver a continuous stream of successful projects using a project management methodology. All of these factors have allowed a multitude of companies to achieve some degree of excellence in project management. Business decisions are now being emphasized ahead of personal decisions.
Words that were commonplace ten years ago have taken on new meanings today. Change is no longer being viewed as being entirely bad. Today, change implies continuous improvement. Conflicts are no longer seen as detrimental. Conflicts managed well can be beneficial. Project management is no longer viewed as a system entirely internal to the organization. It is now a competitive weapon that brings higher levels of quality and increased value-added opportunities for the customer.
Companies that were considered excellent in management in the past may no longer be regarded as excellent today, especially with regard to project management. Consider the book entitled In Search of Excellence , written by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman in 1982 (published by Harper & Row, New York). How many of those companies identified in their book are still considered excellent today? How many of those companies have won the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige Award? How many of those companies that have won the award are excellent in project management today? Excellence in project management is a never-ending journey. Companies that are reluctant to invest in continuous improvements in project management soon find themselves with low customer satisfaction ratings.
The differentiation between the first fifty years of project management and the last ten years is in the implementation of project management on a company-wide basis. For more than three decades, we emphasized the quantitative and behavioral tools of project management. Basic knowledge and primary skills were emphasized, and education on project management was provided only to a relatively small group of people. However, within the past ten years, emphasis has been on implementation across the entire company. What was now strategica