Management A Competitive Edge

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Recently, a number of the world's leading project management organisations have taken major initiatives to illuminate executive management about the strategic value and advantages of project management. The focus is to move from specific project management to organisational project management, which these firms maintain is a strategic advantage in a competitive economy.

In this essay, Ed Naughton, Director-general of the Institute of Project Management and present IPMA Vice-president, requires Professor Sebastian Green, Dean of the Faculty of Commerce and Professor of Management and Marketing at University College Cork (formerly of the London Business School), about his views of strategic project management as an automobile for competitive advantage.

Ed: What does one issue strategic Project Management is?

Prof. Green: Strategic project management is the management of those projects that are of critical importance to help the business as a whole to own competitive advantage.

Ed: And what defines a competitive advantage, then?

Prof. Green: There are three characteristics of getting a core competence. The three characteristics are: it gives value to customers; it's not easily imitated; it opens up new possibilities later on.

Ed: But how do task management generate a competitive advantage?

Prof. Green: There are two factors to project management. One aspect is the actual selection of the kind of projects that the business engages in, and secondly there is implementation, the way the projects themselves are maintained.

Ed: Competitive advantage - the value of selecting the projects - it is difficult to define which projects must be chosen!

Prof. Green: I do believe that the selection and prioritisation of projects is something that has not been done well within-the project management literature because it's generally been thought away through reducing it to economic analysis. The strategic imperative gives a different way to you of prioritising projects as it is saying that some projects might not be as successful as others, but when they add to our competency relative to others, then that's going to be important.

Therefore, to take an illustration, if a company's competitive advantage is introducing services more quickly than others, drugs, let's say, getting product to market more quickly, then the projects that allow it to acquire the product more quickly to market are likely to function as the most important types, even if within their own terms, they do not have higher productivity than other sorts of projects.

Ed: But if we're going to select our tasks, we've to define what are the parameters or metrics we're going to select them against that provide us the competitive advantage.

Prof. Green: Definitely. The enterprise needs to know which actions it is employed in, which are the important ones for it competitive advantage and then, that drives the selection of projects. Firms aren't very good at doing that and they may not even know what those actions are. They'll believe it is every thing they do because of the power system.

Ed: If a company formulates its strategy, then what the project management community says is that project management could be the channel for giving that strategy. Then, if the company is good at doing project management, are there any strategic advantage?

Prof. Green: Well, I suppose that returns to this matter of the difference between the form of projects that are chosen and the way you manage the projects. Certainly choosing the kind of projects depends on having the ability to link and prioritise projects ac-cording to a knowledge of what the potential of a business is in accordance with others.

Ed: Let's assume the method is defined. To be able to deliver the strategy, it's to be divided, decomposed into a series of jobs. For that reason, you should be great at doing project management to provide the strategy. Today, the literature says that for a company to become good at doing jobs it's to: place in project management procedures, train people on how best to apply/do project management and co-ordinate the efforts of the people trained to work to procedures in and integrated way using the idea of a project office. Does taking those three methods offer a competitive advantage with this business?

Prof. Green: Where project management, or how you handle jobs, becomes a source of competitive advantage is when you can do things better than others. The 'better than' is through the ability and judgement and the data which will be built-up over time of managing projects. If you think anything at all, you will possibly desire to discover about asea videos. There's an event curve effect here. Regarding information they have accumulated to control these items of jobs where the rule book is limited two organisations will soon be at different points in the experience curve. You-need management thinking and experience because however good the rule book is, it will never deal fully with the complexity of life. You have to manage down the experience curve, you have to manage the understanding and learning that you've of the three facets of project management because of it to become ideal.

Ed: Well, then, I think there's a gap there that has to be resolved as well, in that we have now produced a competency at doing project management to do projects, but we've not arranged that competency to the selection of projects which may help us to provide this competitive advantage. Is project management effective at being imitated?

Prof. Green: Not the softer aspects and not the devel-opment of tacit knowledge of having run many, many jobs with time. So, as an example, you, Ed, have significantly more knowledge of just how to work projects than others. That is why people found you, since while you both may have a regular book including the PMBoK or even the ICB, you have created more experiential knowledge around it.

Essentially, it may be imitated a quantity of the-way, although not when you arrange the softer tacit knowledge of experience into it.

Ed: Organisational project management maturity models are a hot topic at the moment and are directly linked to the 'experience curve' effect you mentioned earlier in the day - how should we see them?

Prof. Green: I really believe in moving beyond painting by figures, moving beyond the idea that that is all you should do and you may demand this set of skills and methods and text book methods and an organisation is completely plastic. In a way, exactly the same problem was experienced by the developers of the ability curve. It is nearly as though, for each and every doubling of size, cost savings occur without you being forced to do something, if you show organizations the knowledge curve on cost. What we realize is though, that the experience curve is a potential of the possibility. Their' realisation depends on the ability of professionals.

Ed: Are senior executives/chief executives in-the mindset to appreciate the possible advantages of project management?

Prof. Green: Until recently, project management has promoted it-self in technical terms. If it was offered in terms of the integration at normal management, at the power to manage throughout the functions financing method procedures with thinking, then it would become more appealing to senior managers. So, it's about the mixing of the soft and the hard, the techniques using the sense and the ability that makes project management so powerful. If senior managers do not accept it right now, it's perhaps not because they're wrong. It's because project management has not sold it-self as effortlessly as it should've done.

Ed: Do we must offer to chief executives and senior executives that it'll offer competitive advantage for them?

Prof. For one more perspective, people might want to glance at: company website. Green: No, I do believe we must demonstrate to them how it does it. We must get inside and actually show them how they are able to put it to use, not just with regards to providing jobs on time and within cost. We need to demonstrate to them how they can use it to over come organisational 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 enterprise. To check up more, people might hate to check-out: human resources manager. There's an entire array of ways they can put it to use. To learn additional information, people can take a peep at: They have to note that the evidence of the results surpasses just how they're currently doing it..