I like project management. The combination of people issues and organization get me going. I heard a webinar at HBR recently on project management for profit.
Joe Knight presented and his first comment was ” Finance and accounting is art and not science.” The finance numbers are so comvincing and their use of Excel so good. However, the reality is they are guessing as much as anyone. He heaves the accountants out and lets engineers work out how to manage the numbers with much better success.
He measures labor hours and not percent of total cost. He clearly has it pegged in the sense of how to succeed in project management in the profit realm. His discipline is also solid and so needed. He notes that project management is often not the emergency or main task so it gets pushed off to the side. It is hard to have enough capacity to chase it and get it right.
I have some more to add. Project management is a technical question and often a change management question rolled into one. Many companies have not considered the change management portion enough.
Project management often fails because no one has really understood project mangement. It is not high science, but it takes focus to know.
Finally, service businesses are often one continuous stream of projects. They can get a grip on their costs by simply having eveyone weekly post their hours given to each active project. It is simple, but the discipline is often not enforced and companies cannot see clearly how each project is really doing.
Sorry if this is messy today, but each thought comes from my own exprience and came tumbling out today.