Analysing the Benefits of Project Management Principles
There are a number of questions worth considering when contemplating the benefits of various management principles:
• Are project people too busy to take the time and stop and look at what they are doing and whether it can be done in a more efficient or effective way? Is it bad logic to say you are too busy to look at ways to do your job better? Is this a similar situation to where some project people start the implementation phase of their project without doing the necessary ground work in the concept and development phases?
• Is management site specific? Can it be expressed in an all-generic form, or is the present state-of-the-art of management a combination of generalisations and site specific practices?
• Is much management practice of the form: this is the way we did it yesterday (or on the last project) and it seemed to work, so this is the way we will do it today (or on this project)?
• What value is there in having someone detached from your project looking at, and commenting on, your management practices? Why is it that this often only happens after something major has gone wrong, much like a repair-on-breakdown philosophy instead of a preventative maintenance philosophy
• Management by objectives involves staff, rather than being told how to carry out their work, being given the freedom to carry out their work in any reasonable way as long as they reach clearly defined targets. Progress is periodically reviewed and management assists wherever possible. This approach allows staff to make initiatives and accept responsibilities. At one stage it was a trendy management approach. Why has it lost its trendiness? Will it become trendy again like flared trousers?
• Project based industries, such as construction, are notorious for the small amount of money spent on research devoted to improving management practices and management knowledge. (Note there is a large amount spent on non-Pareto items such as materials, fixings and proprietary items.) Why is the concern for the short term profit instead of the long term development of the industry? Why is there so much lack of voluntary sharing of information within the industry? Why does today’s profit line drive all activities?
• Systems theory or systems engineering provides a rational way of looking at most management matters yet it appears to be ignored by most management training schools? Why is it largely ignored? Is systems’ non-verbal basis off-putting to management teachers who, by and large, adopt verbal models for most matters? What place does simulation have in advancing understanding in management?