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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Project Manager and Leadership

A project's success is vitally influenced by the success of the project manager. If an outside consultant is being considered for this role, plan to select a heavily experienced consultant. The selection of this individual can perhaps have the greatest influence on the overall cost of the project. These costs include short-term costs for the cost of the initial implementation itself and long-term costs for the ongoing maintenance of the future systems.

The short-term costs often involve a misunderstanding of scope and an inability to minimize scope creep. However, long-term costs can involve increasing current scope to decrease long-term maintenance costs. This is a careful balancing act that is both art and science. Look for a project manager who has extensive experience implementing projects of similar sizes to yours.

A successful programmer or consultant does not necessarily make a successful project manager. These are separate disciplines that require separate time and experience. Of course, the ideal situation is to find a project manager who is both an effective manager and an effective implementer.

Look for a project manager who has experience managing the implementation of the specific products you are encountering. This can reduce the number of surprises that new products can bring. Although the manager might not know the solutions to the specific products, the hope is that the manager has experience hearing about and correcting the problems that your specific products can introduce. In essence, you need a project manager who is experienced enough to understand whether the problems on the project are typical or abnormal. Additionally, your project manager should be an effective leader who has the respect of both the consultant and client project teams.

For example, a general ERP project manager might be effective in understanding many of the industry issues and process issues that could affect your Oracle implementation. However, the best experience is likely to come from the "school of hard knocks." This school is based on direct experience. The ERP project manager might be effective in correcting problems after they have occurred. But, the ERP project manager with Oracle experience might better proactively correct the problems before they occur.

A similar example is to identify an Oracle project manager who has experience managing the specific Oracle Application modules you are implementing. A past manager of Oracle Financials or Manufacturing might be unprepared for the product idiosyncrasies of Oracle Advanced Benefits or of an Oracle Data Warehouse.

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