Business intelligence (BI) and information management services provider PBT Group emphasises the important, yet underused, role that BI plays in project management, especially for the information technology (IT) sector.
PBT Group programme manager Andreas Bartsch tells Engineering News that BI entails the use of applications and tech- nologies to gather, provide access to and analyse the data and information of company operations.
He notes that BI services are beneficial to companies that struggle to come to terms with the integration of data from the different operational source systems to provide “one version of the truth” about the state of their business and data.
“Our typical BI solution includes a data warehouse, which gives the client a centralised, cross-functional view of the information within the entire organisation,” says Bartsch.
He adds that BI solutions can also be used in support of programme or project management.
“If a project manager has access to certain BI solutions, he or she can use these to improve project management esti- mates, for example, based on learning from past experiences.
“BI in project management can contribute to improving the key aspects of the discipline, namely the time, cost and quality of a project. More importantly, such solutions allow one to measure the value of the programme or project in terms of what you are delivering and how it compares with the client’s objectives,” says Bartsch.
He notes that more organisations are realising the advantages of using resources like BI and project management cross-functionally to the benefit of the whole organisation.
“Integrating BI into project management can also have an influence on the financial model used for project implementation.
“BI solutions that contain management information of projects will enable the project manager to make better decisions and, therefore, mitigate risks and ensure a better project outcome,” he says.
Bartsch points out that defining clear business objectives, as well as understanding and managing clients’ expectations, is critical to ensuring a project’s success.
“Often, especially in the IT industry, project owners do not understand what is actually being delivered, or that what is delivered is not in line with their expectations.
“That said, project owners and stakeholders are often guilty of creating unreasonable and unrealistic expectations about the cost, duration and deliverables of a project,” he says.
He points out that in a situation like this, a project man- ager’s well-meant attempt to meet these expectations are usually unsuccessful.
“It is like setting the project up for failure before it has even begun. Organisations have to realise that the successful management of a project comes from a partnership between the key stakeholders and the project manager.
“It is not the project manager’s responsibility to make unreasonable or unachievable expectations a reality. Project owners must accept accountability for ensuring that such expectations are being managed,” states Bartsch.
He notes that project managers are often selected only on their understanding of the discipline and their qualifications.
“It is important for organisations to select a project man- ager in line with the specific project at hand.
“Factors like the type and nature of project (whether it is strategic or task orientated, for example), the size of the team, as well as the number of internal and external stakeholders involved, should be taken into consideration when interviewing and hiring a candidate.
“Concepts like prototyping, or proof of concept, are also considered important for BI-type projects,” he says.
Prototyping involves exposing the client to a visual sample of what will ultimately be delivered. This is done at various phases of the project and ensures that what is being delivered is still in line with what is required.
Meanwhile, Bartsch is positive about PBT Group’s future.
The company’s client base comprises medium to large corporate enterprises in various industries, including banking, insurance, telecommunications and retail.
“As a BI provider, we are well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise, as BI is now becoming a critical enabler in organisations’ aspirations to run better businesses and projects.
“From a project management point of view, we plan to keep integrating our past experiences into our methodologies, which will allow us to improve the quality of our work, as well as mitigate risks and face the challenges as best we can,” he states.