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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cost Goes Both Ways

I was invited to view a new software product, JAPMS, Just Another Project Management System. I was in a roomful of people who had letters after their names that meant they were experienced project managers.

The builders showed us screens that represented projects in multiple views, and multiple projects that rolled up into programs, and dashboards for most of the management belief systems.

They were showing us how incredibly easy it was to move a project to the right due to unforeseen circumstances. Man, one thing goes wrong and your whole project recalculates!

I’ve used many project management systems, from the sublime to the blue screen. I’ve even built and sold a couple. So I was surprised at the response when I asked, “What happens when you do something that cuts time from the project?”

They didn’t know what I was talking about. Obviously not owners. Not one in the room.

What do you mean?”

Well suppose somebody comes up with an activity that takes a couple of weeks off the delivery date?”

From the discussion, I realized I was in a room with a group who had never considered running a project in less time than expected. They were more interested in that than in how the software worked.

Back when I was running the construction company, I would tell the estimators to figure out how the competition would price a job, so we could figure out if we even wanted to bid it. The estimators would then figure a better way and bid that.

Then I would go to the site supervisors and tell them that if they couldn’t beat the estimators’ numbers, I didn’t need them on the project. They got very good and very bonused beating expectations.

In selling we see similar situations all the time. If we can’t get better with every implementation, where’s the fun?

Winning a bid just creates another opportunity to excel.

I really enjoy finding a similar requirement after enabling technology has improved. One time I built a second marketing services factory that could create better results in less than two thirds of the time and cost of our original factory. Of course, I had had a heavy hand in building the prototype operation.

Anyway, the project management software turned out to be another record keeping application, but several of the reviewers said they were going to look into building ways to shorten their projects into their project plans.

Who knew?

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