Managing complex projects

This is a post for all the project-management junkies out there (and given the size of my audience, it is a fairly large group. Not !)

I am about to kick-start another very large client project which will require iron-fisted project management skills to stay on time. So I am dusting PM skills which I honed when I was at IBM, nearly 30 years ago. I was put in charge of a cumbersome but really powerful application program (when IBM still made application software, sigh!) called CIPREC.

It had very advanced time leveling and resource allocation and optimization modules, but you had to program the beast in near-Assembler, it ran on a /370 CPU with MVS (or VM, if you were lucky); there were no more than maybe 50 people in all IBM worldwide who knew anything about CIPREC and when it got our of beta it was so buggy I had to do tests on the night shift to avoid pissing off the sysadmins (believe or not, IBM had a night shift then).

As usual with PM software, reporting was the stumbling block (that, and PERT unbundling, but this got solved later on with more capable graphical interfaces) and I was the undisputed worldwide God of CIPREC reporting – peer recognition ranked very high back then!

Fast forward to today, I am playing with Merlin, a rather capable product which – believe it or not – is Mac-only ! Why would you cut yourself out of 90% of the corporate market who is the largest user of PM software is a total mystery to me, but there you go!

Merlin is great at managing data entry and resource allocation, but I’d definitely welcome a much stronger ability to write my own reports – a surprise they did not imagine you would need that.

Maybe they monitor blogs…


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