I just returned from a conference entitled MRO-World. The purpose of the conference was to enhance learning around activities that support Asset Management and the Maintenance, Repair, and Operation (MRO) of those assets. How does this fit in with Project Management? As we all know, Operational activities are focused on maintaining, while Project activities are focused on change. Having said that, Operations activities still have change that needs to be managed.
Strategic MRO is composed of business processes, and is not meant to be an activity management mechanism. Strategic MRO is focused on managing change and continuous improvement in regards to a company's assets. Where I work, we have Strategic Assets that must work nearly 100% of the time. Our systems consist of Water Distribution, Waste Water Treatment, Storm Water Management, Land Fill Operations, Roads, Traffic Control, IT Systems, etc. How these assets are maintained, repaired, and operated can have a huge impact on the bottom line.
In my opinion Project Management can help in the implementation of software to manage assets, in helping scheduling the work to support the MRO of the assets (preventative maintenance for example) , and additionally through communicating the status of critical work and changes to assets going on in the Enterprise.
Part of any organization's responsibilities is to manage their assets to maximize their value. To do this they must:
Define the current state of the asset
Determine the future asset state objectives
Perform a gap analysis between the current and future states
Develop a prioritized task list of what needs to be done to close the gaps
This sounds a lot like project management to me. As I said, I will be doing more research in this area and will report my findings here. As always I welcome your feedback.