Project management is a long-standing profession and in the past century it has become a real subject covered by many studies and research.
According to classic project management, and too often used nowadays, the success of a project is measured in terms of time, budget and scope metrics.
Therefore, little attention is paid to the overall business benefits in terms of both customer value and profit for the organization.
Granted, project management has improved in recent decades, but it is clear that project management practices need to transform rapidly to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Project management transformation in the 21st century
The 21st century challenges us to change the way we manage change within organizations.
Conventional jobs are changing and new ones are starting to appear, the old concept of office work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. is no longer up-to-date, means and opportunities for communication are evolving, as is technology that is constantly improving…
Organizations need critical thinkers capable of adapting, inventing and reinventing; collaborating, creating and innovating, understanding and exploiting complexities to let creativity flow.
So project management and business analysis are also transforming before our eyes in order to achieve and create better business results.
Some refer to it as “Breakthrough Project Management” (or BPM), an innovative approach to procurement and project management.
This method provides a sound and replicable basis for delivering projects:
- Meeting deadlines
- Using a limited budget
- Without compromising reach or quality
Although the traditional approach to project management is still successful in the case of low to moderately complex projects, as far as the most difficult tasks are concerned, this method becomes inadequate and it is necessary to follow a new path also taking into account the ever-changing market.
Project manager’s role
The project manager, in this context, should not be stuck on the classic approach of project management, but should always be looking for new perspectives and new innovations in the industry.
It is clear that the world, including business, is moving rapidly, technology advances are rapid and furious, and organizations are forced to innovate all the time.
Indeed, the new Agile approach towards projects can be successful in this regard.
In this case, the required synergies are leveraged to stimulate creativity and innovation.
The key word therefore becomes “innovate” or stay in the market and facing competition will become increasingly complicated.
Innovating therefore becomes the lifeblood for organizational survival.
The project manager must therefore focus on the continuous delivery of business value and innovation, understanding the holistic nature of change.
This change requires attention to people, processes, organizations, rules, data, technologies to constitute a transformative business practice.
Realizing that a holistic perspective towards change is both an art and a science, the project manager must find a balance between analysis and intuition, between order and disruptive change.
The decision-making process thus becomes collaborative; thought is inclusive and strategic; complexity is exploited to achieve creativity; leadership is shared and diversified; teams are collaborative and highly performing; methods are adaptive, creative, agile; solutions are innovative, competitive and create value for the organization.
The innovative practices of the project therefore produce revolutionary results and require different thinking and new practices and systems.
The success criteria of the project must therefore be changed to include the concept of value, wealth and benefits for the company, innovation and creativity.
Ultimately, traditional project management tools and techniques are often considered inadequate today.
These traditional approaches that use a static method, in fact, provide project managers with unrealistic estimates that ignore multiple feedback processes and non-linear project relationships.
The interrelationships between the components of a project are more complex than those portrayed in the classic project management model and make them inadequate for the challenges of the dynamic project environment of the 21st century.
New complex and dynamic environments therefore require project managers to rethink the traditional definition of a project and classic management methods.
Project managers must also be able to make decisions in these dynamic and unstable systems that are constantly changing and evolving randomly and are difficult to predict, very different from traditional linear and predictable systems.
To achieve this goal, more integrated approaches to project management in complex environments and new methods of project planning, scheduling, execution and control need to be studied.
As mentioned above, “innovation” must be the watchword in 21st century project management.