Despite considerable gains in the field of project management in organizations, project planning, project manager certification, and project tools - projects are still failing.
But do we have even half formed theories on projects? In a world where projects may need to be highly adaptable to be successful, traditional PM guidelines require projects to have complete plans and unchangeable design. It doesn't work, but project management practice encourages use of the same process again in the next project. Perhaps we need to look for new approaches.
What would project management look like if we took Einstein's advice to heart, that, "the problems of tomorrow won't be answered with the techniques of today?" Research and practical experience both tell us that the failings of project management lie in the 'fuzzy front end' – even before the emerging complexity of managing a social activity involving many thinking, learning individuals. We need to have better insight into the people side, particularly for the two phases of a program where people play games which have been called: "Too early to tell and too late to stop."
Project managers have two choices: follow recommended project management practice and proceed as if projects operate as planned and elements can be reused OR develop a sophisticated understanding of project practice realities by adding more diverse people and organizational skills to their project management toolkits. If you choose the latter, you must do two things. First: Get the facts! Second, incorporate tools into your toolkit that allow you to review the facts about the social part of your project more effectively. These come from varied places, including new research.
Join Janice Thomas as she explore the skills and knowledge needed to move project management from wishful ignorance to sophisticated practice.
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