FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

ARTEMIS SOLVES TOP 10 PROJECT MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS


Artemis Brings Power and Strength to Project Managers

ó Software Ensures Quality And Effective Completion Of Projects

BOULDER, CO (September 06, 2001) ó A time-tested adage is that people underestimate the planning, cost, time and pain required to roll out and implement a major project. According to the Standish Group's CHAOS 2001 research, 23 percent of IT projects are cancelled before completion, 49 percent are adversely affected by cost and time overruns or changes in scope, and the average cost overrun is equal to 63 percent of their original estimates. With these statistics, itís no wonder project managers face up-hill battles.

Project management (PM) is a tough skill to learn, according to the Project Management Institute, the worldís leading not-for-profit project management professional association.

To project managers, the words project management conjure up visions of data entry, Gantt charts and long hours spent trying to guess how much money they will need to beg from management to accomplish the job. Add to this mix the notorious reputation IT projects have for running behind schedule and over budget, and it is enough to overwhelm any project manager.

"More than 70 percent of all projects go south. Of the projects that stay on the table, itís not uncommon for quality to suffer from poor project management," said Caper Jones, 30-year project management veteran and Chief Scientist Emeritus of Artemis International Solutions Corporation (OTCBB: OPUS), a leading provider of enterprise-wide project and resource collaboration solutions. "Problems will crop up with the project, no matter how much time and attention project managers give. These problems require immediate attention. Otherwise, they can snowball and seriously impact the success of the project."

 

With over 25 years experience in project management software and consulting, Artemis experts view the following top ten list as the most difficult and significant project management obstacles, along with the actions needed to rectify these project management vulnerabilities.

Problem #1: Project canít begin on time. Project managers are given the assignment but itís added to an already challenging slate of projects. Yet, they are expected to complete the project on schedule.

Solution: Itís important to begin the project, even if it is only assembling the team and breaking the task down into individual assignments. Project managers need to reevaluate the list of projects, look at those tasks on which they are taking time and reconsider their priorities. If project managers are still concerned, they should determine if either the project or other work should be reassigned to ensure the projectís completion on time.

Problem #2: Project has vague requirements. For every step taken, the project takes four steps backward. The project began with nebulous objectives and milestones.

Solution: Projects could be headed for trouble if specifications are unclear and if there are poorly established guidelines that determine how and when requirements can be added, removed and implemented. To be successful, the project scope must be narrowed enough at the outset to provide a clear path to the projectís end. Before moving forward, project managers should establish reasonably stable metrics. But even when this is done, in virtually all projects, there will be some degree of readjusting priorities while learning the requirements. This problem can easily be handled with the many project management tools on the market. These tools combine numerous variables to provide realistic projections, even at the early critical decision-making junctures ó before requirements are firm.

Problem #3: Project managers canít stay within project parameters. The project grows in scope as team members work and as more tasks are assigned.

Solution: If project managers believe in some balance between work and life, putting in longer work hours isnít the answer. Because a project coordinates the undertaking of so many interrelated activities, project managers should learn to question each new element of the project.

Ask management how additional projects or features relate to corporate strategy and how they impact current objectives. If project managers must add another step to the project, then they should also consider procuring additional resources to help accomplish the new tasks. Finally, project managers should establish a new deadline, adjust project plans, reschedule work and continue to monitor progress toward desired goals. If project managers stick to these steps, they are more likely to achieve control of the project, stay within project parameters and achieve desired results.

Problem #4: Lack of Strategic Alignment. Thereís only one thing more important than doing projects right and thatís doing the right project. An all too common reason for IT projects being cancelled is because they never should have been started; that is, there is no auditable mapping between the project objectives and the business objectives of the organization.

Solution: Ensure that each project charter contains and explains the rationale for undertaking a project in the context of the current business drivers of the organization. This rationale should include the measurable benefits that will result in the advancement of the business objectives.

Problem #5: Stakeholder Management. Effective stakeholder management requires the identification of individuals who are affected by and/or can affect the successful outcome of a project, especially those who are of a less than positive disposition toward the project objectives. All stakeholders require attentive management to minimize obstacles of this type.

Solution: Create a truly collaborative work environment where visibility of the work involved in the project and the change which is likely to occur as a result of the project can be analyzed, and discussed by interested and affected parties. This ensures minimal uncertainty and the wherewithal to keep all interests "on board." Ownership of risk identification, planning, management and tracking must also be taken, to then be published to the appropriate stakeholders.

Problem #6: Communication breakdowns cause project goals and objectives to be unclear. Management may rethink its original goals for a project and expect the team to adapt accordingly. If this happens once during the life of the project, it is awkward but manageable. What do project managers do if management is continually revising the groupís goals?

Solution: If there seems to be no logic to the repeated changes, project managers need to meet with senior management to get a clearer view of the projectís mission. While it is important to shorten the time to value in the current e-business world, focusing solely on dates without a plan to get to those dates will result in an inefficient development environment and compromises in quality or functionality. Enterprise-level and project-level objectives should be highlighted, recorded, and then tracked over time and communicated in a comprehensible manner. In many projects there is not one person who has an overview of the entire project. Time should be taken periodically to have everyone in every position learn the big picture. The people working on the pieces need to know how their one piece fits into the entire architecture. In the meantime, project managers can focus on those aspects of the project that are still achievable until there is a final decision on the teamís mission. If direction is coming from different executives, and there is no consensus, then stop the project until project managers clarify the situation. Convening without a well-stated purpose can so "de-motivate" the group that project managers will never be able to get them back in the swing of things once project managers have cleared the muddied waters of mission confusion.

Problem #7: Staff gaps develop. The team has one individual critical to the teamís success. Suddenly that person announces he or she canít continue on the project. The personís loss to the team could jeopardize its success.

Solution: Project managers identify key people at the start of the project and design workflow so that others in the team may be cross-trained to fill these roles should vacancies occur for whatever reason. Backup these key people through the work so there will be someone remaining who is familiar with the project should one of these key people leave the group or get reassigned.

Problem #8: Project managers ignore approaching disaster. Management determines a plan and it is politically unwise either to say or show the objective is unachievable.

Solution: No project is perfect. Problems occur because of inaccurate milestone predictions, budget allocations, schedule delays, new technology demands, additional requirements unanticipated during initial planning and changes in project mission. Management hates surprises and any of these situations can cause disaster during the life of a project. The key to avoiding the "impending doom" scenario is to track the project process carefully and provide management more frequent status reports. With available project analysis tools on the market, project managers can predict more objective analysis of the problem to present to management. Once project managers have composed a plan, review it weekly, if not nightly, against the teamís actual performance. Use schedules and budgets as tools. Day-to-day changes in deadlines, expenditures and revenues cannot be ignored. With regular and timely assessment, it is possible to reflect this constantly changing reality and to keep management regularly informed.

Problem #9: Project teams skip test phase. The number one problem in the development lifecycle is that project teams spend too much time designing and not enough time testing.

Solution: Project management should detail the strategic business objectives and the process to achieve them budgeting in ample time for testing, testing and retesting. This phase is often the first phase to go due to time and budget constraints. Project managers should note that if their teams spend all of their time designing and no time testing, the project is highly likely to fail in the end. Project managers need to have the foresight that when the project goes live, problems will cost more. The success of the project depends on testing throughout the project lifecycle. The process of delivering successful projects, in the end, will prove more worthwhile than management thought.

Problem #10: Fear about not sticking to the tried-and-true. Team members are unable to think outside the box because team members feel unsafe.

Solution: No two variables are more influential to an innovative environment and flow of new ideas than creativity and risk-taking. It is important to create an environment where mistakes can occur. Often, itís a cultural issue ó sometimes one that extends beyond the team. But organizations that play it safe for too long become stale. Organizations that encourage some risk taking get creative results. The ability to think creatively inspires teams and encourages team members to embrace the objectives of the project ó an integral component of team building. Not everything will fly but those ideas that work will keep the company competitive. Itís this message that the team leader needs to send to the projectís participants.

Today, project management is used globally by multi-billion-dollar corporations, governments and small nonprofit organizations alike. There are myriad ways to fail. There are only a very few ways to succeed. The factors of successful project management have been documented for years ó they merely need greater attention. Project management leadership is a highly sought-after skill, as global competition demands that new projects ó small and large ó be completed on time and within budget. As new and re-engineered enterprises emerge in the 21st century, it will be the project management professionals who will play an integral role in the ultimate success of their implementation.

About Artemis International Solutions Corporation
Artemis International Solutions is a leading provider of scalable, enterprise-wide project and resource collaboration solutions. The company's Business Management Architecture™ is the only total solution that maximizes business performance by helping companies transform their strategies into results. Artemis' unique combination of integrated software and consulting services includes strategic portfolio management, project and resource management, workforce procurement and hosted human capital management eBusiness applications. Known for the reliability and scalability of its products, the company's Web-based and client/server solutions are designed to meet IS/IT, capital program and new product development application needs. Artemis provides mission-critical solutions to thousands of clients worldwide, including Global 2000 companies such as: ABN AMRO Bank N.V., BAE SYSTEMS, The Boeing Company, Deutsche Bank, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Lockheed Martin, Marconi PLC, Nokia, Pfizer Inc., SBC Communications Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Recently named one of KM World.comís "Top 100 Companies That Matter," Artemis operates through its international network of 40 offices in more than 27 countries. The Artemis family of companies recently combined with Opus360 Corporation. The common stock of the resulting company trades under the symbol "OPUS" on the OTCBB. For more information, visit the Artemis Web site at www.artemisintl.com.

Forward Looking Statements

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This press release contains or may contain forward-looking statements such as statements regarding the effect of completing the combination of Opus360 with the Artemis businesses, the ability of Opus360 and Artemis to successfully integrate their businesses, the combined company's growth and profitability, growth strategy, liquidity and access to public markets, operating expense reduction and trends in the industry in which the Company operates. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements are detailed in the documents filed by Opus360 with the Securities and Exchange Commission including but not limited to those contained under the risk factors section of the Opus360 Annual Report on Form 10-K and Form 10-K/A for the year ended December 31, 2000. The Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect actual results, changes in risks, uncertainties or assumptions underlying or affecting such statements or for prospective events that may have a retroactive effect.

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CONTACT:

Sabine Kortals

Artemis International
303.305.4107
sabine.kortals@us.artemisintl.com mailto:

Subject: Re: DSSResources.COM

Thu, 6 Sep 2001 12:53:49 -0600

From: Sabine.Kortals@us.artemisintl.com

To: Daniel Power <power@dssresources.com>

Thanks for your interest:

(See attached file: Top 10 PM Problems_final.doc)

______________________________

Sabine Kortals

Manager, Corporate Communications

Artemis International

tel: 303.305.4107

fax: 303.305.4125

sabine.kortals@us.artemisintl.com

www.artemisintl.com