This chapter has discussed automation in the context of project management. Although microcomputer-based GUI products for technical project managers and analysts have begun to offer some fundamental functions, they lack sufficient functionality for project management automation from the planning phase to the coordination and execution phase. Three major functions among others that remain difficult to automate are the historical project databases, the knowledge-based project methodologies, and the flexible navigation mechanisms.

Current IT developments are emerging that provide the solutions if they are fully utilized. This chapter identified the specific technologies for project management automation:

■ Expert systems, hypermedia, and image/object technology, which can be used to develop the knowledge-based project methodology

■ Relational database technology, which can be used to implement the multiproject historical databases and to assist the development of various project management programs

■ Multimedia, which can be used to represent knowledge or project data in the forms of text, graphics, images, audio, video, and animation

■ Hypertext techniques and relational queries, which can be used to provide a flexible navigation mechanism

Until these technologies are fully incorporated into the systems, project management will remain one of the thorny problems for managers. To alleviate this problem, a new project management system must be planned and built as an integral part of the organizationwide information system. Because relational technology is the best complete technology currently available to support the overall information system, it should be used to implement a project management system.

To better prepare for a new era of relational technology-centered project management automation, the following steps are suggested:

■ Standardizing the project methodology. A proven project methodology must be chosen. The chosen methodology standardizes project development activities.

■ Planning and building the project database with a RDBMS. First, the project database must be planned as an integral part of the enterprise data model. Emphasis should be placed on data aggregation and data sharing. Second, the project data can be defined, stored, and maintained with the use of the back end of a relational DBMS.

Developing the project management programs with the front-end tools of RDBMS. The 4GL development tools can be used to facilitate the rapid development of the various project management subsystems including transaction processing, management reporting, and information inquiry.

■ Implementing expert guidance and hypermedia navigation. These functions may be delayed until RDBMS or other technologies are proved to be capable of implementing them.

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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