Project Management Capability

When I think of project management, I see two major components: The ART of project management, and the PROCESS of project management. The latter component, the process, involves considerable data, measurements, analysis, and communication. For this, most people will rely on one or more computer-based tools. Most of the processes involved in managing projects cannot be handled efficiently without the aid of project management software. So we must assume that the process of organizing for project management will include the selection of project management tools.

The process for selecting and applying project management software has changed over the past four decades. Like almost everything else in this technological society, the changes during the past few years have been more rapid and extensive than ever before. We are seeing changes in who uses such software, in how the software is designed, and in the environment in which it is used.

While these changes are influencing how we go about selecting the proper tools to use in supporting project management, we continue to have to address the larger process of how to best implement a computer-based project management capability within the firm. This process has not changed a great deal. While many newcomers to the world of project management try to take shortcuts, we have found that these attempts have failed unless a solid foundation has been put in place for the project management process.

The specification, evaluation, and selection of project management software is a key component of the process of implementing a computer-based project management capability. Much can be and has been written about this subject, and often, the reader is left with as much confusion as existed before the research started. The marketplace is loaded with products to assist in project management—products that change so quickly that the vendors have abandoned hardcopy documentation in favor of electronic media.

Moreover, this process of specifying, evaluating, and selecting project management software is only one part of the larger process of implementing a computer-based project management capability. For this implementation to be successful, we must apply four additional steps. The five components of this process are:

1. Methods.

2. Tools (Software Selection).

3. Training.

4. Implementation Plan.

5. Audit Process.

In this chapter, we provide overall guidance through the entire five-step process, based on actual, successful implementations. In the tools overview, we introduce a new, simplified, balanced approach toward software selection, recognizing the latest application of such tools and the popular configurations that are available in today's market. A detailed discussion of this modified approach appears in Chapter 12.1, A Simplified and Balanced Approach to PM Software Selection.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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