Businesses are looking for any competitive advantage they can find and IT departments are looking to squeeze more productivity out of the same (or fewer) budget dollars. As a result, there have been renewed efforts to improve business processes. Business process improvement (BPI) is a broad category that includes methodologies such as CMM, CMMI, Six Sigma, ISO9000, and more. Project management fits well into the category of business process improvement because standard project management methodologies can be applied to any type of project in any business or industry. While the particular processes may be further refined or specified by broader business process improvement systems, project management is a great starting point.
As you learned in this chapter, there are eight fundamental success factors for any project. It's important to understand these success factors because if they're missing, your project has an increased chance of failure. Successful projects may not have all eight success factors present, but the more you have, the better your chance of success. As you review the projects you already have in progress, you can see which are on track and which are at risk, then review the success factors. Chances are good you'll find those projects that are at risk are missing one or more of the eight key success factors.
We also introduced the relationship of the four project constraintsscope, time, cost, and quality. You may have already looked at your current IT projects and discovered the relationship between these elements. You may have seen that when you were asked to include six more features, you had to extend the timeline to accommodate for that change. You may have realized that when your budget was cut by 20%, you had to go back and re-negotiate the amount of work you were going to include in the project. As you become more familiar with these concepts, you'll have some excellent tools to more effectively negotiate project details with stakeholders. We'll discuss this in greater detail later, but you can ponder these relationships in past, current, and upcoming projects in the meantime.
Project, program, and portfolio management are buzzwords you may have heard about recently. They're gaining popularity and it's good to be familiar with trends and terminology that impact your job and industry.