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Enterprise Project Management Systems Are Only The Glue

By carswell ·
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Don’t expect miracles from enterprise project management systems. Installing the software will not achieve much without employing change management at every level in the company to ensure compliance with the standardised processes and practices that are required for any management system to function properly.
Enterprise systems are designed to organise and collate the results of multiple streams of good business practices into properly structured repositories of data that will provide meaningful information to business executives who need to make well informed strategic- and tactical decisions about their operations.
Without the consistent application of good business practices, the data is unlikely to be reliable and the resultant information will be misleading. These enterprise systems cannot be expected to recycle trash into sparkling new, usable produce. The old adage: “garbage in equals garbage out” has relevance here.
Executives who invest in any of the larger enterprise Financial Management and Resource Planning systems are usually made very aware of the importance of the need for a major investment in organisational change along with - or prior to - the implementation of the system. The organisational change generally includes new processes; new roles and responsibilities; new focus on disciplines; and probably new IT infrastructure, with improved system response time parameters. Financial governance being what it is, any organisation intent on survival will pay attention to compliance, and employees who fail to toe the line will soon be shown the error of their ways.
Why is it that the equivalent Project Management systems fail to earn the same respect?
In fact, the project management teams at some organisations that I have seen implementing new enterprise Project Management systems seem to behave as if this is a good excuse to throw all their previous processes and governance systems out and start from scratch, as if the new software will manage all of those things for them in future.
Enterprise Project Management systems do not plan and manage projects. The best of these systems are merely the platforms that will organise and collate the data from multiple projects and enable organisations to provide meaningful information to business executives who need to make well informed strategic- and tactical decisions about their projects. The consistent application of good project management practices is required to ensure the integrity of the project data that will be rolled up into the enterprise project management systems. The enterprise project management system is really only the glue that holds the project information together. If the organisation fails to implement the necessary changes – from top to bottom – there will be no return on the investment.
A good Project Manager will not necessarily fail without the latest in project management applications installed on his laptop computer. However, without a lot of luck, a PM is most likely to fail if he disregards the fundamental principles that have been important to PM’s ever since Project Management first started to evolve as a discipline in its own right. For many years, PM’s planned and managed projects successfully without computers and project management software will only increase the efficiency of a good PM. A bad PM needs more than a computer system.

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