As this blog is posted, I am packing to go to Oracle Open World. I will be attending the Primavera Program to learn from and teach to attendees aspects of CPM and project management, and to generally learn more about other Oracle products. But, I come not to bury but to praise enterprise scheduling. For while many of us advocate the importance of respect for local control of day-to-day decision making on our projects, we also do realize that corporate decisions on allocations of limited resources must look beyond our one project.

One example is in my native Pennsylvania. We have many bridges that urgently require repair or replacement. Even if these were ranked by level of danger, or number of citizens endangered, or just about any other criteria, there will be too many that tie for first place. Now let us assume that a number of these bridges may be most economically repaired (either in cost of contract or cost of downtime to the public) by use of a certain class of large crane. Others may share a need for an experienced demolition contractor (who may be listed as a potential subcontractor for many of the prime bidders.) An organization such as PennDOT should have a system in place for planning the use of these limited resources (companies that have the large crane or demolition experts.) PennDot contracts should permit the shift of such resources from one project to another, subject to fair compensation to all involved. (That is another blog subject.)

Of course, the trick is how to create and maintain such a system, using daily information to allow for adroit management of opportunities and minimizing delays to the whole program for unanticipated events (a blow-out on one site, a buried pipe or Native American artifact on another,) all without impeding the field management team from focus upon their project. You know, there are some pretty bright folks there at Oracle, and I will be listening to them carefully. But they also need to hear how their solutions may impact the workday of those individuals for whom their software is touted as an aid to productivity. A hammer that must be put down to record each swing is not going to add to productivity, no matter how it automates the just-in-time delivery of nails.

These are the questions I will bring to Oracle Open World. I hope that you too may attend. But if you cannot, then please allow me to be your representative, and provide in your comments (or by email to the questions you wish me to raise.