Executives will be facing increasingly complex challenges during the next decade. These challenges will be the result of high escalation factors for salaries and raw materials, increased union demands, pressure from stockholders, and the possibility of long-term high inflation accompanied by a mild recession and a lack of borrowing power with financial institutions. These environmental conditions have existed before, but not to the degree that they do today.

*Case Study also appears at end of chapter.

In the past, executives have attempted to ease the impact of these environmental conditions by embarking on massive cost-reduction programs. The usual results of these programs have been early retirement, layoffs, and a reduction in manpower through attrition. As jobs become vacant, executives pressure line managers to accomplish the same amount of work with fewer resources, either by improving efficiency or by upgrading performance requirements to a higher position on the learning curve. Because people costs are more inflationary than the cost of equipment or facilities, executives are funding more and more capital equipment projects in an attempt to increase or improve productivity without increasing labor.

Unfortunately, executives are somewhat limited in how far they can go to reduce manpower without running a high risk to corporate profitability. Capital equipment projects are not always the answer. Thus, executives have been forced to look elsewhere for the solutions to their problems.

Almost all of today's executives are in agreement that the solution to the majority of corporate problems involves obtaining better control and use of existing corporate resources, looking internally rather than externally for the solution. As part of the attempt to achieve an internal solution, executives are taking a hard look at the ways corporate activities are managed. Project management is one of the techniques under consideration.

The project management approach is relatively modern. It is characterized by methods of restructuring management and adapting special management techniques, with the purpose of obtaining better control and use of existing resources. Thirty years ago project management was confined to U.S. Department of Defense contractors and construction companies. Today, the concept behind project management is being applied in such diverse industries and organizations as defense, construction, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, banking, hospitals, accounting, advertising, law, state and local governments, and the United Nations.

The rapid rate of change in both technology and the marketplace has created enormous strains on existing organizational forms. The traditional structure is highly bureaucratic, and experience has shown that it cannot respond rapidly enough to a changing environment. Thus, the traditional structure must be replaced by project management, or other temporary management structures that are highly organic and can respond very rapidly as situations develop inside and outside the company.

Project management has long been discussed by corporate executives and academics as one of several workable possibilities for organizational forms of the future that could integrate complex efforts and reduce bureaucracy. The acceptance of project management has not been easy, however. Many executives are not willing to accept change and are inflexible when it comes to adapting to a different environment. The project management approach requires a departure from the traditional business organizational form, which is basically vertical and which emphasizes a strong superior-subordinate relationship.

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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