Chapter 1. Enterprise Project ManagementThe Philosophy
IN THIS CHAPTER
As mentioned in the Introduction, the primary purpose of this book is to provide knowledge to the reader of the capabilities of Microsoft Office Project Server 2003, a robust Enterprise Project Management (EPM) software application. Although the vast majority of this book focuses on the features and capabilities of the software, this chapter focuses on the organization, environment, and high-level processes surrounding the software. The goal of this chapter is to highlight key planning requirements and other critical success factors to EPM software deployment and most importantly, for successful use of this powerful tool. These items are not related to the hardware, software, or networking environments. They are related to the people and the process side of the equation.
Unlike many enterprise applications, successful adoption and use of this software is highly dependent on successful management of the domain knowledge and the processes used by the organization to manage its work. Implementing an EPM solution requires project management thinking. This is a complex project, and it should be planned and executed using good project management techniques and supported by strong executive leadership.
The Standish Group, a leading analyst group for the IT sector, has been performing research with major corporations for the past nine years on the success or failure record of IT projects. They published their initial results, which were very poor, in 1994 in the "Chaos Report." In their most recently released report, things have improved. Schedule overruns were significantly lower in 2000 than they had been in 1994 (down from 222% to 63%). Cost overruns are also down by similar margins. The Standish Group attributes these changes to a variety of things, including better tools, higher skill levels, and better management processes. Although this is good news, they also point out that there is still a lot of room for improvement. Many projects still fail to meet expectations, and the Standish Group attributes these failures to "lack of skilled project management and executive support."
The good news is that improvements in tools, skills, and processes are making a difference. The bad news is that most of the failures are linked to the softer skills of executive and project management leadership. The material in this chapter is provided to help put the implementation of EPM software in context of the overall goals of the organization.