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Who manage projects ? people or Software packages !

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Despite the increasing complexity of project management software, success in project management is primarily driven by people, not software. While new IT solutions are prevalent and often seen as technological silver bullets, they should be viewed as tools to support a well-established project management framework, rather than as the primary drivers of project success.

Clark, C. W. (2000) introduces a four-dimensional approach to building a high-performance project delivery system, emphasizing Master Project Planning, Project Portfolio Management, Project Management Competencies, and the Human Performance Environment. The key message is that organizations can achieve world-class project management using existing desktop software tools, and success lies in understanding and implementing a robust project management framework rather than relying solely on new IT solutions. The paper highlights the crucial role of human interaction skills and the work environment in project management success. Ultimately, it suggests that people, supported by appropriate processes, drive the success of projects, with software serving as a tool to aid established practices.

The four-dimensional approach outlined in the article provides a comprehensive guide for organizations to enhance their project management capabilities.

  1. Master Project Planning
  2. Project Portfolio Management
  3. Project Management Competencies
  4. Human Performance Environment

It begins with Master Project Planning, emphasizing the alignment of projects with the organization’s strategy and the necessity of a strategic roadmap. This is followed by Project Portfolio Management, which involves prioritizing and managing projects based on value, resources, and strategic alignment.

The third dimension, Project Management Competencies, highlights the diverse skill set required for successful project management. It underscores the importance of content expertise, technical skills, and, significantly, interpersonal skills, categorizing them as the “soft side” of project management. This dimension emphasizes that human interaction and understanding are critical components that can significantly impact project success.

The Human Performance Environment, the fourth dimension, underscores the role of the work environment in achieving desired project outcomes. It delves into various components such as job models, performance review processes, reward systems, communication methods, and consequence analysis. The article stresses the need for an effective human performance system, where expectations are clear, feedback is continuous, and the work environment supports success.

The concluding message of the article suggests that organizations can attain world-class project management performance by prioritizing people and processes over the allure of new software solutions. It challenges the idea that the latest technology alone can solve project management challenges, highlighting that success in project management requires a holistic approach that incorporates people skills, strategic planning, effective decision-making, and a conducive work environment.

In summary, the article advocates for a balanced perspective, recognizing that while software tools can be valuable enablers, they should complement and serve the well-defined processes and competencies driven by people in the realm of project management.

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