Bridging the Gap

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

The enterprise project management software market is undeniably huge. From the relatively ubiquitous Microsoft Project and its server-based products to untold other suites, portals and packages, there is no lack of choice for the organization looking to coordinate its projects. The marketing for these many solutions promise organizational project management nirvana.
 
So seldom, however, is nirvana actually attained. Or anything even close to nirvana; the view is in fact distinctly grungier. So what’s the problem, and what can we do about it?
 
To explore this question, it’s perhaps helpful to start off with an understanding of why organizations adopt enterprise PM software in the first place, and their expectations and hoped-for outcomes in doing so. The most common reason organizations adopt enterprise PM software is to attain some larger level of coordination of projects. There is a desire to better manage resource allocations and commitments, to start understanding overall capacity and commitment levels, and to manage the inevitable interdependencies between different projects. After attempting to do this in more standalone software packages--with decidedly middling results--organizations begin to look for a broader, more comprehensive solution.
 
As prospective customers come face to face with the bewildering array of potential solutions …

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