Big Ideas

Project: Management

By Aaron LazenBy

2011 Primavera Special Edition

In August 2010, Profit launched the first in a periodic series of supplemental “special issues” of the magazine, designed to give focused attention to significant application product lines in Oracle’s ever-expanding product portfolio. The response we received from readers and partners was extremely positive, so we plan to provide special issues along with Profit on a regular basis, giving subscribers updates about key product developments and customer successes.

While analyzing the 2010 traffic reports for Profit Online, I noticed a steady, significant interest in the project management content we produced. Project management was also the subject of our most-common Twitter retweets. This interest made Oracle’s Primavera enterprise project portfolio management product line an obvious selection for February 2011. And as we started to develop content for this issue, a few common threads emerged.

First, the sources we interviewed for these stories consistently reported that economic and budgetary pressures are driving new interest in project management. With fewer resources available, executives require tools and strategies to better execute, manage, and track the work of their organizations. This is almost the dictionary definition of project management.

This trend could be driving another development: the expansion of project management strategies and practices into new organizations. As Primavera cofounder Dick Faris told me, projects used to describe work that was an exception to normal operations. But as sources at Leighton Contractors told Profit, the discipline and accountability of project management can have a positive impact on all aspects of a business.

Such benefits may be influencing an expansion of project management practices beyond industries where projects are the business norm. Project-intensive sectors—such as engineering and construction, utilities, oil and gas, and mining and metals, among others—have long embraced these practices, and those industries are well represented in this issue.

But Faris indicated that information technology providers are increasingly turning to project management software to handle large-scale implementations. Other industries are likely to follow as executives are faced with doing more with less, while preserving a culture of excellence within their organizations.

This all suggests that project management is evolving to be more about management than it is about projects. We’ll have to check in with our sources for next year’s Profit Primavera special issue to see how this plays out.

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