Is it just me or is the little guy losing his agility?  As I remember the story, David prevailed with a slingshot carried in his back pocket and a stone picked up off the ground during the fight. Goliath lost with his armory of choice of swords, shields, maces, body armor, etc., and support staff to carry all of this as well as feed their champion.   

Upper management, seeing David’s triumph, may choose one of two “best practices” to prepare for the next battle. The first is to arm a whole bunch of Davids with slingshots and have them practice their aim. The second is to build a bigger and better David by arming him with a catapult which requires a whole team to transport, load, prime and fire, along with a logistics crew to provide large rocks on a just-in-time basis.   

Welcome to Enterprise Scheduling.

The PC (or personal computer) was embraced as a tool by superintendents, project managers and resident engineers to better manage their projects. We now appear to be moving backward, to centralized control and standardized enterprise codes for running our infinitely variable projects. Next we will see web apps. Will these charge a premium fee for business hour use, matching the past premium fee structure for mainframe use?  I did not like having to work at night to avoid these fees for my employers or clients then, and will like it even less in the coming years.   

Accelerating the trend is the centralization of the vendors of the tools.  Deltek buys out Welcom. Oracle buys out Primavera.  IBM buys out SPSS.  Customers of the larger vendors often do not realize the value of the tools of the smaller vendors, seeing only how the software tool may provide data important to them. The resulting push by the marketing team to the development team does not bode well for improvement from the viewpoint of the original customers of the acquired vendor.   

We need to be more vocal as to the impact of these trends on our productivity.  What features of project scheduling software do you need to better manage your projects?  What features of enterprise project scheduling divert your time from managing your projects?  How many hours per week are spent from your project resources to support the support services that are supposedly supporting your project?   

If you are a superintendent, project manager or resident engineer, how can your program manager, vice president or CEO best help you to improve the profitability of  your project? If you are the program manager, vice president. or CEO, how can the project team best inform you of the need for help without burdening or slowing the team? 

Rest assured, the senior management of the software vendors will be reading your responses.