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A Competitive Advantage

Recently, several the world's major project management firms took important initiatives to enlighten executive management about the strategic importance and advantages of project management. The emphasis is always to move from specific project management to organisational project management, which these organisations maintain is a strategic advantage in a competitive economy.

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

Ed: What does one point ideal Project Management is?

Prof. Green: Strategic project management may be the management of the projects which are of crucial importance to enable the organisation in general to get competitive advantage.

Ed: And what becomes a competitive advantage, then?

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

Ed: But how can task administration produce a competitive advantage?

Prof. Green: You will find two aspects to project management. One factor is the actual choice of the kind of projects that the company engages in, and secondly there is execution, the way the projects themselves are handled.

Ed: Competitive advantage - the value of selecting the correct projects - it's challenging to determine which projects must be chosen!

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

So, to just take an example, if a company's competitive advantage is introducing new products more quickly than others, drugs, let's say, finding product to market more quickly, then your projects that allow it to obtain the product more quickly to market will be the most significant types, even if in their own terms, they don't have higher productivity than other sorts of projects.

Ed: But when we're going to select our projects, we have to determine what are the details or metrics we are going to select them against that give the competitive edge to us.

Prof. Green: Completely. The enterprise has to know which actions it is engaged in, which are the critical ones for it then and competitive advantage, that drives the choice of projects. Companies aren't excellent at doing that and they might not even know what these actions are. They will believe it is anything they do because of the power system.

Ed: If its strategy is formulated by a company, then what the project management group says is that project management is the method for giving that strategy. So therefore, when the operation is great at doing project management, are there any strategic advantage?

Prof. Green: Well, I guess that comes home to this problem of the difference between the form of projects that are opted for and the way you manage the projects. Privacy is a engaging database for further concerning the meaning behind this view. Obviously choosing the type of projects depends upon having the ability to link and prioritise projects according to an understanding of what the potential of an enterprise is relative to others.

Ed: Let us assume the method is set. So that you can produce the strategy, it has to be broken-down, decomposed into some tasks. Consequently, you must be proficient at doing project management to deliver the strategy. Now, the literature says that for a business to become proficient at doing tasks it has to: place in project management procedures, train people on how best to apply/do project management and co-ordinate the efforts of the people qualified to work to procedures in and integrated way using the notion of a project office. Does using these three steps deliver a competitive advantage with this company?

Prof. Green: Where project management, or how you control tasks, becomes a source of competitive advantage is when you may do things better than others. My cousin discovered check out mannitech by searching Google Books. The 'better than' is through the ability and judgement and the information which can be built-up over time of managing projects. There's an event curve effect here. Two firms will be at various points in the experience curve as to the knowledge they've accumulated where the rule book is insufficient to control these components of jobs. You'll need management thinking and experience since however good the rule book is, it will never deal entirely with all the complexity of life. You have to manage down the ability curve, you've to manage the learning and understanding that you have of these three facets of project management for it to become ideal.

Ed: Well, then, I think there's a niche there that's to be addressed as well, in that we've now developed a competency at doing project management to do projects, but we have not aimed that competency to the choice of projects which can help us to provide this competitive advantage. Is project management able to being copied?

Prof. Green: Not the softer elements and not the develop-ment of tacit knowledge of having run many, many jobs with time. So, like, you, Ed, have significantly more familiarity with how-to work tasks than other people. That is why people came to you, since while you both might have a standard book like the PMBoK or the ICB, you've created more experiential knowledge around it.

In essence, it could be copied a specific amount of the way, but not once you arrange the smoother tacit understanding of knowledge into it.

Ed: Organisational project management maturity models are a hot topic right now and are directly from the 'knowledge curve' effect you mentioned earlier in the day - how should we view them?

Prof. Green: in my opinion in moving beyond painting by figures, moving beyond the idea that that's all you need to do and you may demand this set of processes and capabilities and text book methods and an organisation is totally plastic. You might say, exactly the same problem was experienced by the developers of the ability curve. If you show the experience curve to companies o-n cost, it is almost like, for each and every doubling of volume, cost savings occur without you being forced to do something. What we all know is though, the experience curve is a potential of a chance. Their' realisation depends upon the ability of administrators.

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

Prof. Green: Until lately, project management has promoted it self in technical terms. If it was offered in terms of the integration at normal management, at the ability to manage throughout the features lending technique procedures with sense, then it would become more appealing to senior managers. So, it's about the mixing of the hard and the gentle, the methods together with the reasoning and the experience that produces project management so powerful. If senior managers don't embrace it at the moment, it's perhaps not as they are wrong. It is because project management has not promoted it-self as efficiently as it should've done.

Ed: Do we need to sell to chief executives and senior executives that it will deliver competitive advantage for them?

Prof. Green: No, I do believe we must show them how it does it. We need to get in there and actually show them how they could use it, not just with regards to offering jobs on time and within cost. We must demonstrate to them how they can use it to over come resistance to change, how they can use it to enhance capabilities and actions that lead to competitive advantage, how they can use it to enhance the tacit knowledge in the business. There is a whole array of ways they are able to utilize it. Get new information on web address by visiting our interesting paper. They have to see that the proof of the end result surpasses the way in which they're currently doing it..

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