Recently, a number of the world's leading project management organizations took important initiatives to enlighten government management concerning the strategic value and advantages of project management. The focus is always to move from specific project management to organisational project management, which these companies keep is a strategic advantage in a competitive economy.
In this article, Ed Naughton, Director-general of the Institute of Project Management and current IPMA Vice-president, requires Professor Sebastian Green, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Professor of Management and Marketing at University College Cork (previously of the London Business School), about his views of proper project management as a car for competitive advantage.
Ed: What do you issue proper Project Management is?
Prof. Green: Strategic project management is the management of those projects which are of crucial importance to allow the organisation as a whole to own competitive advantage. I discovered mannatech
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Ed: And what defines a competitive advantage, then?
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maybe provides lessons you should tell your sister. Green: You will find three characteristics of experiencing a core competence. The three features are: it gives value to customers; it is perhaps not easily imitated; it opens up new opportunities in the future.
Ed: But how can task administration produce a competitive advantage?
Prof. Green: There are two factors to project management. One element is the actual selection of the type of projects that the business engages in, and subsequently there's execution, how a projects themselves are maintained.
Ed: Competitive advantage - the value of selecting the correct projects - it is challenging to establish which projects must be chosen!
Prof. Green: I think that the selection and prioritisation of projects is something that has not been done well within-the project management literature because it is basically been assumed away through reducing it to financial analysis. The strategic imperative gives an alternative way to you of prioritising projects because it is saying that some projects might not be as profitable as others, but if they add to our competency relative to others, then that's going to be important.
Therefore, to simply take an example, if a company's competitive advantage is introducing services more quickly than the others, pharmaceuticals, let us say, finding product to market more quickly, then your projects that allow it to acquire the product more quickly to market are likely to be the most important types, even if in their own terms, they don't have higher profitability than some other projects.
Ed: But when we are going to select our tasks, we've to define what're the guidelines or measurements we're going to select them against that provide the competitive edge to us.
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certainly provides aids you should use with your pastor. Green: Definitely. The company has to know which activities it's engaged in, which are the critical ones for it competitive advantage and then, that drives the selection of projects. Enterprises aren't very good at doing that and they could not even understand what these actions are. They'll believe it is every thing they do due to the power system.
Ed: If an organization formulates its strategy, then what the project management group says is that project management will be the method for giving that strategy. Therefore, when the organisation is great at doing project management, is there any strategic advantage?
Prof. Green: Well, I suppose that comes home to this matter of the difference between the sort of projects that are chosen and the way you manage the projects. Obviously selecting the sort of projects depends on being able to link and prioritise projects according to an understanding of what the potential of an organisation is relative to others.
Ed: Let's suppose the strategy is about. So that you can deliver the strategy, it's to be divided, decomposed into some projects. For that reason, you have to be good at doing project management to deliver the strategy. Today, the literature says that for an operation to become great at doing jobs it's to: put in project management procedures, train people on how to apply/do project management and co-ordinate the efforts of the people qualified to work to procedures in and integrated way utilizing the idea of a project office. Does taking those three ways deliver a competitive advantage for this business?
Prof. Green: Where project management, or how you control projects, becomes a source of competitive advantage is when you may do things a lot better than the others. The 'better than' is through the ability and thinking and the data that is developed as time passes of managing projects. There's an experience curve effect here. Two companies will soon be at different points in the experience curve as to the knowledge they've built-up where the rule book is inadequate to manage these items of tasks. You'll need management sense and knowledge since however good the rule book is, it'll never deal completely with the complexity of life. You've to manage down the ability curve, you have to manage the knowledge and learning that you have of those three aspects of project management for this to become strategic.
Ed: Well, then, I believe there's a gap there that's to be addressed as well, in that we've now created a competency at doing project management to do projects, but we have not aimed that competency to the choice of projects which can help us to provide this competitive edge. Is project management effective at being imitated?
Prof. Green: Not the softer elements and not the devel-opment of tacit knowledge of having run many, many projects over time. So, like, you, Ed, do have more familiarity with just how to run jobs than others. That's why people found you, since while you both might have a regular book like the PMBoK or the ICB, you've developed more experiential knowledge around it.
Essentially, it may be copied a specific amount of the way, but not once you arrange the softer tacit understanding of knowledge into it.
Ed: Organisational project management maturity types are a hot topic at this time and are directly linked to the 'knowledge curve' effect you mentioned earlier - how should we view them?
Prof. Green: in my opinion in moving beyond painting by quantities, moving beyond the basic idea that that is all you have to do and you can enforce this set of procedures and capabilities and text book protocols and a company is completely plastic. In ways, just the same problem was experienced by the designers of the ability curve. It is almost like, for each doubling of volume, cost savings occur without you being forced to do such a thing, if you show the knowledge curve to companies o-n cost. What we all know is nevertheless, the experience curve is a potential of a risk. Their' realisation depends upon the ability of managers.
Ed: Are senior executives/chief executives in the mind-set to appreciate the potential advantages of project management?
Prof. Green: Until lately, project management has promoted it-self in technical terms. If it was promoted in terms of the integration at standard management, at the capability to manage throughout the functions financing process techniques with judgement, then it'd be more attractive to senior managers. So, it's about the experience that makes project management so powerful, the techniques with the thinking and the mixing of the soft and the hard. If senior executives don't grasp it at the moment, it's perhaps not because they're wrong. It's because project management has not marketed it-self as effortlessly as it should've done.
Ed: Do we need to sell to chief executives and senior executives that it will deliver competitive advantage to them?
Prof. Green: No, I think we need to demonstrate to them how it does it. We need to go inside and really show them how they are able to use it, not only in terms of offering tasks on time and within cost. We need to demonstrate to them how they can use it to over come resistance to change, how they can use it to enhance capabilities and activities that cause competitive advantage, how they can use it to enhance the tacit knowledge in the organisation. There's an entire array of ways in which they could put it to use. They need to observe that the evidence of the results surpasses the way they're currently doing it..
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