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Project Manager : June July 2011
37 www.aipm.com.au Project Manager THE OFFICE Martin Vaughan is the Managing Director of Core Consulting Group, a Melbourne- based consulting business specialising in Planning/ Scheduling, Estimating/Cost Management and PMOs. If you’d like to debate or discuss, join the AIPM PMO Special Interest Group or contact your local PMO SIG Chair for more details. ACT: Mike.Kennedy@ fahcsia.gov.au SA: email@example.com VIC: firstname.lastname@example.org “I need a planning tool,” stated the Gen Y graduate project manager. “Here, have a pencil,” says the Gen X project manager mentor. “ Ver y funny,” says the Gen Y. “ What about something a bit more innovative?” Which got us reflecting , where has innovation in the tool space for project managers been over the past 25 years? Sure there are some fantastic tools out there for PMOs; tools that centralise data, aggregate, summarise, collaborate and automate. There are tools that analyse, graph, bubble, dashboard, metric and traffic light. There are tools that provide workflow, automatic notifications and approvals. There are tools used to map funding to strategy, align benefits to business cases. There are even tools that provide ‘self serve’ reporting to senior managers (good theory but highly unlikely to be used). But what about the project manager? Sure, scheduling software has been around for 25 years, but if anything they get prettier but dumbed down with each new release. Simplistic Issues, Risk and Change log solutions have existed for a while but don’t seem to improve. There is next to nothing WHAT HAPPENED TO INNOVATION? existing to help project managers estimate and manage costs apart from the spreadsheet. If you look around most organisations, you will find the project management community playing around with macros and spreadsheets trying for something more. Planning is about thinking. Estimating is about tapping into experience. Forecasting is about combining both to predict the future. All require people, experience, thought and structure. At the heart of most Enterprise tools you will find plans, estimates and forecasts. The elephant in the room for most PMOs is how to get better at generating these key elements. Such information is the foundation for better reporting, sharing and aggregation of data. Scratch the surface of most Enterprise systems and you will find missing, incorrect or misleading data. As the old saying goes: rubbish in, rubbish out (politically correct version). So tool vendors, consider the project manager’s needs in your next tool innovation workshop. Provide them with more than just an electronic pencil. We are not saying it is easy, but it is necessary. Tap into history and experience and provide real solutions that make the project manager’s life easier, not harder. Provide innovative tools that help solve their problems. 37 www.aipm.com.au Project Manager THE VIEW FROM THE PMO MARTIN VAUGHAN MAIPM CPPD
April May 2011
Project Manager Aug Sep 2011