Project Management for e-Business Initiatives

 
 
 
David A. Marca,
University of Phoenix, USA

Brief Bio

David A. Marca is Lead Faculty at the University of Phoenix, and Adjunct Faculty at Boston University. He has published six books and 22 technical papers on e-Business, electronic commerce, groupware, workflow, systems analysis, and software engineering, and holds a U.S. Patent in workflow technology. The IEEE Press recently published his latest book, entitled “Open Process Frameworks: Patterns for the Adaptive e-Enterprise” Mr. Marca is also President of OpenProcess Incorporated, an e-Business consulting firm established in 1997. He consults to Fortune 2000 firms in the areas of workforce management and e-Business solutions. He is also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Overview

This tutorial is intended to provide an overview of how to manage e-Business initiatives. It covers not only the basics of e-Business technology management, but also covers critical aspects of e-Business in general that must be factored into project planning, tracking and reporting to ensure project success. This tutorial will be valuable to those who are interested in:

  • planning an e-Business initiative,
  • managing an e-Business technology initiative,
  • controlling a large number of e-Project inter-dependencies,
  • assessing the health of an e-Business project.

Outline

Part I

Management Framework. e-Business projects now absorb more of the IT budget, so firms are using disciplined programs to implement these initiatives, especially through enterprise project management. e-Business project success requires balancing imagination and methodology, while providing tight coordination among many the participating organizations to reduce risk. Typically, project timelines are often short and fixed, requirements change must be controlled, project focus is on the outsourcing agreement, and implementation requires heavy coordination, single point of control, and external oversight. For these reasons, an e-Project relies heavily on a management framework:

- Project Constraints and Assumptions
- Solid Project Definition
- Comprehensive Project Team
- Accurate and Controlled Estimates
- Tight Project Control
- Project Repository
- Proactive Project Oversight

Part II

Project Management. Some consider e-Business initiatives to be very similar to traditional software development efforts. So, some e-Business solutions are pressed into service without sufficient capability or usability. However, some companies recognize that e-Business initiatives require more than the traditional planning, requirements, design and testing activities common to other software efforts. They recognize that an e-Project must use management techniques from initiatives that have varying degrees of uncertainty and organizational impact – strategy implementations, for example. And because of the high visibility and wide impact of an e-Project, these companies also adopt structured and disciplined quality and learning methods to lessen project rework. In short, they institute five additional key management practices:

- Formal Project Stages
- Highly Coordinated Project Team
- Project Plan Management
- Process Change Management
- Technology Integration Management

Part III

Implementation Management. Instituting a management framework and formal management practices will help alleviate some common e-Project mistakes, such as unsupportive champions, unclear strategy, conflicting priorities, and poor coordination. However, a comprehensive set of implementation practices is also needed to create a complete, correct and usable e-Business solution:

- Business Relationship Management
- Commodity Pricing
- Program Office Formulation
- Value Chain Transition
- Business Process Reengineering
- Technology Configuration and Integration
- Operational Data Transition
- Project Communications
- End User Training

Part IV

Team Management. Due its scope, complexity and number of stakeholders, an e-Project must take care to manage its relationship. This relationship spans the sponsoring organization, the larger company, the value chain (i.e. both demand side and supply side), and the user community. Therefore, the project team should have a multi-team management approach and framework that enables customer focus, continuous improvement, total participation, and societal networking. It should also have sub-teams, each one capable of managing the relationship between the e-Project and a specific constituency. Here are the project sub-teams:

- Project Team Framework
- Steering Committee
- Business Relationship Team
- Program Office Team
- Value Chain Team
- Front Office Team
- Back Office Team

Target Audience

This tutorial is designed to reach business executives, process architects, technology architects, and project managers. Business executives include CEO, COO, CIO, Senior VP for Human Resources, and Senior VP for Procurement. Architects and project managers are those people who are responsible for e-Business initiatives. Participants need to have only a general understanding of e-Business and must have previously participated, in any capacity whatsoever, on an IT-related project.