Marathons, technology and leadership
Christopher H. Murray
The corporation has changed more drastically in the past decade than at any time this century. Some of those changes have been painful, others exhilarating. None, however, has been as full of potential as the new freedom and power now at the fingertips of virtually every manager with a PC on his or her desk—a PC that is connected to a vast repository of information that extends from personal archives to enterprise-wide information.
With that power and freedom, however, come new demands—the demand for leadership and the demand for responsibility. Organization effectiveness is increasingly determined by the results of project teams that must function in less structured and more decentralized environments as our technology changes. The shape of the modern corporation has evolved from a hierarchical pyramid to a complex neural network where each connection is important. In this new world, project teams interacting with each other become the “glue” that binds the organization together. Leadership must now come from all levels of the enterprise, not just from the top. Everyone in the organization gets deeply involved in projects and is greatly impacted by the quality and effectiveness of day-to-day project management.
The shape of the modern corporation has evolved from a hierarchical pyramid to a complex neural network where each connection is important.
We at ABT view ourselves as a primary advocate of the increasingly vital role project managers play in the success of their organizations and the stature they deserve as a result. We are committed to empowering the project manager, department manager, and executive manager with the tools and knowledge for improving their job performance. Toward this goal we have organized a unique program—The Project Leadership Conference at the Drake Hotel in Chicago, June 28 to 30. This conference is aimed at providing, for the first time, the transfer of important practitioner experience from key systems integrators and users on how to be successful in project management and how to avoid the “pitfalls” that lead to failure. This educational conference is unique in that it combines solid experience from many of the most visible im-plementors of systems with the best training in leadership provided by academic leaders from leading graduate business schools. We believe the audience for this conference is the executives who set the tone and lead the charge in applications development as well as project leaders who directly manage the work. This forum is jointly sponsored by an ABT-led group of industry leaders, including Deloitte & Touche, Andersen Consulting, James Martin & Company, Application Development Trends, Software Engineering Institute and the Project Management Institute. PMI will offer each attendee of this conference two points towards certification or recertification in the PMI Project Management Professional Certification Program.
Christopher H. Murray, president of Applied Business Technology (ABT) Corporation, is responsible for the overall direction of the company he and Danek M. Bienkowski co-founded in 1981.
Mr. Murray has more than 20 years of industry and consulting experience in project management. Prior to founding ABT, he was a vice president at Citibank N. A., where he was responsible for directing a marketing and operations group and managing the introduction of new systems technologies. Previously, he held positions at Electronic Data Systems as manager of data processing activities at the F&R Lazarus Division of Federated Department Stores and at Exxon Corporation in operations research.
Mr. Murray earned a bachelor's degree from Purdue University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.
Marathon running is my personal challenge, but it's a good example of how we can harness project management technology to reach for our own particular passionate goals.
On a personal note, last year I decided to participate with people from all walks of life in the New York City Marathon—my first. I recommend it to anyone who wants the ultimate “project” experience. The marathon was 26.2 miles of hard work which tested my willpower. I had to reach for something that I had never accomplished before, and hoped to make it through to a successful outcome. The real challenge, however, was something that all project managers can appreciate: the effort to build a training plan, estimate the workload, assess the impact on everything else, and make the countless day-to-day changes in the plan dictated by unforeseen events (weather, injury, etc.). In other words, the challenge was to manage a project that had an unrealistic and immovable deadline. During training I concentrated on accomplishing small successes every day, reaching new training levels by documenting the achievements of previous runs. Just as in the process of managing projects in the enterprise, planning, tracking and measuring provided the basis for quantifying progress. I used my PC to set my goals, targets, and milestones, then plotted each day's mileage against my long-range training plan. If I fell short, I knew it right away. I was able to gather additional helpful information— everything from which foods were best to eat before running to techniques for preventing sore muscles and injuries. The technology gave me control and confidence. Marathon running is my personal challenge, but it's a good example of how we can harness project management technology to reach for our own particular passionate goals.
If you've read this far, you've probably got your own kind of marathon to run. Plan for it … Prepare for it … Manage it … Do it … And take pride in it. ❑
Applied Business Technology (ABT) is a leading developer and marketer of microcomputer-based project management software designed to improve enterprise-wide productivity, quality and control in information systems. The products are the result of the co-founders' experience in industry and management consulting and utilize the most recent technology in both software development and user. friendly interfacing.
The company is headquartered in New York City, with regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and Washington, DC. ABT markets its products throughout the U.S. and Canada via a direct sales force.
Internationally, ABT products are marketed and supported by the Hoskyns Group plc in London and Tohmatsu in Japan. ABT also has distributors in Australia, New Zealand, South America, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Singapore and Sweden.
ABT conducts regularly scheduled training seminars throughout North America for new and experienced users of its software as well as topical seminars on project management concepts and techniques. ABT also conducts on-site training and consulting engagements.
PMNETwork • June 1994