Harvey A. Levine, Principal
The Project Knowledge Group
Saratoga Springs, NY and San Diego, CA.
Published here July 2001

Introduction | What a Project Office Does | A Successful Projects Environment
Problems without a CPO | What Project Managers Do | The Chief Project Officer

Problems without a CPO

The implementation of a computer-based project management capability imposes a need for special skills. It is often assumed (erroneously) that all managers and senior practitioners possess these skills. In the typical IS organization, we tend to designate people such as Senior Systems Analysts as Project Leaders, assuming that they will capably undertake the role of work manager, resource manager and project manager. Yet this overlooks several impeding conditions.

  1. Project management skills are weak or nonexistent.
  2. The Project Leader views self as a technical leader and concentrates on management of the technical content of the work. Furthermore, the measurements (and rewards) may be more aligned with technical success and management of resources (which are more easily and visibly measured than "project" success).
  3. The Project Leader is embedded in a functional unit, while the work crosses functional boundaries. It is difficult to eliminate or overcome biases, or for the Project Leader to persuade other functions to put aside high priority work for their projects.

Similar theory exists in engineering, manufacturing and other type organizations. Just change the job titles.

It has been my experience that a computer-based project management capability cannot be developed and implemented by committee (unless that committee is operating under the leadership and direction of a recognized project management function). The implementation of a computer-based project management capability involves five phases: Methods (practices), Tool Selection, Training, Implementation and Audit. All of this must be accomplished under the direction and coordination of the Project Office.

Successful Projects Environment  A Successful Projects Environment

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