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pdf - Project Management Practitioner's Handbook(1998)

pdf - Project Management Practitioner's Handbook(1998)

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05/11/2014

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The project manager has never had a tougher job. Companies are always in transition now, remodeling and
reorganizing to meet the latest global challenges. Competition is keen and only the flexible will survive.
These business conditions translate directly to the greater demands for efficient, effective management of an
entire spectrum of projects.

For example, a rise in use of distributed systems technology (e.g., client/server, Intranet, and Internet
computing) and telecommuting has accelerated the disappearance of organizational boundaries and
hierarchical management levels. Along with this blurring of organizational levels has come employee
empowerment. Many companies now grant employees greater responsibilities and decision-making authority
(e.g., self-directed work teams).

And the changes just don’t stop. Many companies view projects as investments, integral parts of their
strategic plans. This means the project managers must continually demonstrate their contribution to the
bottom line. With this alliance between strategic plan and project management comes an increasingly close
but often tense relationship between project and process management. Contrary to popular belief, project
management and process management are compatible; projects become integral players in using and
implementing processes. But failure to effectively manage a key project could cause a malfunction in the core
process! This relationship between process and project management also manifests itself in a need to integrate
multiple projects when they involve common core processes, thus requiring even greater integration to ensure
such processes are not adversely affected.

The nature of today’s workforce has changed in many companies. Employees are no longer offered or seek
long-term employment—many people and companies want flexibility or mobility. Such changes add a new

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dimension to the work being done on a project—a dimension that directly affects relationships and ways of
doing business. And many projects now involve people from different occupations and backgrounds. The
globalization of the nation’s business, for instance, requires that a project manager’s skills go beyond being
able to put together a flowchart.

As the economy continues to expand, key resources will become limited and project managers will need
alternative ways to obtain expertise, such as by using consultants and outsourcing. Certainly, project
managers in the past have faced similar problems of providing alternative sources of expertise—but never on
as great a scale as they do today.

Market pressures complicate the management of projects, too. Customers not only want a quality product but
also want it sooner. Time-to-market pressures force project managers to be efficient and effective to an
unprecedented degree. The complexity involved in managing projects has never been greater and will likely
only grow in the future. So, too, will the risks for failure. It is more critical than ever that the pieces of the
project be in place to ensure delivery of the final service on time and within budget and to guarantee that it be
of the highest quality.

Tom Peters, the great management consultant, was correct when he said that project management is the skill
of the 1990s. But it is the skill of the future as well. The need for managing projects efficiently and effectively
has never been greater and so are the rewards for its success. But having good project management practices
in place will no longer suffice; what is required now is excellence in project management if project success is
to be the norm.

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