Accomplishment of a solution to the problems cited above begins with clearly separating out the project management components that must ultimately comprise a viable project management solution. These include:
- Work process tasks
- Work environments
- Persons with varying levels of skills and performances
Projects can range from simple to complex. Simple projects are those that are short-term, single purpose with one or a few well defined deliverables and just a few persons.
Complex projects are those that are long-term, have multiple purposes consisting of interrelated, hierarchical as well as network engineered organized agendas, task lists, deliverables, and large collections of persons with varying skill levels and performance capabilities.
Initially, large collections of projects need be identified and examined to discern patterns through which complex projects can be broken into smaller well defined projects that can, in turn, be interrelated through the production of output deliverables from one project that become inputs to the next project.
Deliverables need be identified and examined in a way similar to projects. This results in collections of smaller, well defined deliverables that are created within one project and are then used within another.
Work process tasks are troublesome. That’s because the vast majority of projects accomplished within the Whitemarsh business domain are “intellectual property” projects rather than “product manufacturing” projects. Designing a database or business information system, or deducing an enterprise's architecture are examples of the former while building a computer, automobile, or production line manufacturing are examples of the later.
Because of the critical difference between intellectual-property projects and product-manufacturing projects, the ability to identify, standardize, and rigorously monitor work process tasks ranges from close to impossible for the manager to completely frustrating to the persons actually performing the work.
Work environments within intellectual property projects have great variability. These variabilities include work performance enhancement tools, availability of reviewers, and the like. These must be identified, accounted for, and managed within projects.
The final component of effective project management includes the identification and assessment of persons, their skills and levels, and their relative levels of performance. Without being able to quantity performance based on audited deliverable accomplishment, project estimates are educated guesses at best.