Getting projects right in changing times
In the film,” Star Trek: Insurrection,” Data, the android, says to a little boy, “my operations depend on specifications that do not change.”
While Data’s success as an android depended on his specs never changing, I am not sure we can say that for projects. The times, they are a changing! Not only is the world changing, it is changing at exponential rates, even as I write this message. We live in an environment where the market and the context for projects is often characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The rapid technological change and accelerated pace of innovation in this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution that impacts every aspect of life are causing disruption across industries and markets. According to Klaus Schwab in his 2015 article, the 4th industrial revolution has brought about greater and rapidly shifting customer expectations, greater demand for enhanced value in products and services, the need to collaborate in innovation, and organizational culture, talent and structures that support this.
What does this mean for your projects and for project management? Projects are drivers of organizational change and means for creating value, not only for business but society at large. How do you get projects right in this constantly changing environment? What does it take to get a project right, the first time? Or should we get it right, the first time? And how do we define 'right'?
The way we think about projects and project management is changing. Getting it right has historically evolved around getting scope, schedule and budget right at the start and minimizing change. The focus was based on a predictable linear approach to the project life cycle or the waterfall approach. Emphasis was on the internal organizational environment of the primary project stakeholders and less on the external operating environment or context of the project and broader stakeholders. PMI’s Pulse of the Profession study found that project management approaches, by necessity, are becoming more adaptive with 41% of the respondents using agile or hybrid approaches. The latest edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 6th edition) has called for tailoring projects that operate in environments requiring adaptive, agile and iterative approaches and has integrated agile approaches to the newest PMBOK. However, this is just the beginning of the discussion. Having agility alone is not sufficient. Who defines “right” is equally important, as well as the techniques used and the participants involved in the process.
For answers to these questions and an opportunity to debate and engage with industry experts, don't miss PMI South Africa's PM Summit on 9 November 2017, at the Accolades Convention Centre in Midrand.
Learn about managing projects in an ever-changing age of dynamism, exponential change and disruption. Join us for a day of delving into with new ways of thinking and project management approaches, with strategic emphasis on value creation for individual organization and society. Sessions will be lively and provocative, dealing with all areas of project management such as stakeholder engagement, governance, leadership, benefits realization, sustainability for individual business and society at large, new approaches to PM such as design thinking, and the importance of on-time business analytics.
Do you have any thoughts about getting it right? We’d like to hear from you. Start the discussion early! Post your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
See you at the PM Summit!