Implementing Project Management as Part of a Corporate Cost Reduction Program

SECOND EDITION                                                            

Hubert Vaughan

Professor (retired)

Tsinghua University

Beijing, China


The Chief Executive is now the champion for driving the project management practices within the organization. Implementation of project management is more than delivering projects on time and under budget, it is the major tool for achieving sustainable cost savings in the Corporation.

Keywords: Reform, Cost Reduction, project management, Profit improvement, Project Office, System Development


Most organizations implement Project Management with a simple objective, to deliver quality deliverables on time, under budget, with limited resources.

Despite statistics indicating the rate of failures in project engagement year after year, organizations continue to put faith in project management because its knowledge base is comprehensive to ensure project engagements can achieve their objectives if applied properly. Furthermore, those successful engagements we often hear about are projects of significant nature from organizations we recognized as industry leaders.

Project Management was officially introduced to China just before the turn of the century. Government offices and enterprises initially greeted it with great enthusiasm. Project Management was the magic tool they were looking for that can enhance management effectiveness and improve operation efficiency. Government soon mandated all engineering contracts must have a certified project manager from the bidder to quality for bid submission, and executives expected project managers to deliver contracts on time and under-budget.

The facts of a Project Manager’s Life 

Ten years have passed and there are stories of successes and failures in the use of project management across all industries in China. Most Project Managers are accomplished professionals, selected by management and given the responsibility of leading and managing project engagements. Appointments were mostly based on the individual’s acumens in their field of business or technology achievement in relation to the project nature itself. The mandate is simple, i.e., get the job done right. Unfortunately it is easier said than done.

A majority of Project Managers, as far as most organizations in China go, are no more than Team Leaders who carry the prime responsibility of an engineer with other team members having added responsibility to manage the project according to the Project Management knowledge introduced by PMI from USA or IPMA from Europe. The gaps between project management knowledge and project management practices are large enough for these accomplished professionals to lose focus of their newly assigned responsibility.

Gradually, their primary concern is to meet senior management expectation by filling out the regular reports from data submitted from other team members without validating or evaluating the contents, while senior management considered project management a viable tool that can provide them the needed statistics through regular status reports so that they know how well the organization is doing financially.  They leave the project managers on their own to find ways of improving their project management skills and competency. How projects were managed was not that important as long as revenues continue to flow in and profit margins appear in financial reports.


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Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally published in PM World Today in September 2010, republished with author’s permission. 

About the Author

flag-chinapmwj17-dec2013-vaughan-AUTHOR IMAGEProf Hubert Vaughan (Retired) 

Tsinghua University

Beijing, China

Hubert Vaughan commenced his career in the field of computer technology in early 1972. For thirty years, Hubert practiced and served a number of International technology and financial Organizations including IBM, DEC, Unisys, Tandem, Bell Canada, Andersen Consulting, Lucent Technologies, National Mutual, ANZ Banking Group and Bank of Montreal; holding senior management positions in Technology related services. His career covered the five major continents around the world as Department Manager, Director, Assistant Vice President, and Vice President that spanned across software development, professional services, product development, technology consulting, project/program management, strategic planning as well as business development.

The last ten years, Hubert joined the Academic Institutions in China as Professor at the Institute of International Engineering Project Management (IIEPM) of Tsinghua University. Hubert also lectured at the Graduate School of China Academy of Science, the Beijing University of Aeronautic and Astronautic teaching Innovation Management, Management of Technology, Program Management, Project management, and Software Engineering.

Apart from his teaching engagements, Hubert is a Research Fellow at the China Academy of Management Science, a member of the International Society of Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), a former member of PMI’s Certification Governance Council (CGC); a co-founder of First International Innovation Management Alliance (FiiMA), and an Editorial Advisor of professional e-journal PM World Journal. Hubert is a Program Consultant to a number of multi-billion dollars projects run by State-Owned technology organizations and financial institutions in China.

Hubert is a regular presenter at international conferences and seminars in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific. He had published more than fifty papers related to Software Engineering, Project Management, Program Management, and Innovation Management subjects both in China and in various international professional journals.  Retired from his academic engagement in July 2013, Hubert continues his research work in Innovation Engineering and presents at international events about his research findings throughout his career. He can be contacted at [email protected]