From politicization to projectization--challenge to international development



The globe is not uniform from the angles of economy, social norms, and management practices. While the diversity in the social plane can be of great asset if properly exploited, the wide variations in economic plane can be extremely painful for the society as a whole. The bitter economic reality can affect millions and millions human beings with very negative consequences. The polarization of states, countries and regions is primarily based on the prosperity in the economic sense. International Development, therefore, plays an important role to sustainability of the civilization as a whole.

Management is focused primarily to realize a dream into reality through the effective usage of resources. The transition and development economies have a tremendous strain on them to move forward in view of the constant paucity of resources. This brings in to light a new dimension to management as how innovative one could be to manage drained resources especially capital.

Project management assumes a most vital dimension as it addresses the issues of transition and change effectively spread out over the project life cycle. Projectization culture and the management viewpoint depend heavily on the professionalism through which the issues are resolved and put forward for resolution.

P4 Evolution Model

Combining the development processes of the human race from agriculture based to Industrial and to Information age economies, one can easily divide the development into four phases of Politi-cization, Privatization and Professionalization to Projectization. Exhibit 1 explains the key transformation of P4 evolution model.

In the Agriculture age, the social factors were the governing factors based around the distribution of land. Land reforms were the major focal area to improve the social fabrics of the society. The politics was centered on the land related issues as that was the basis of the agriculture society. In the P4 model, this phase is called Politi-cization process. The Industrial age in the late 19th century provided a mechanism to launch the cybernetic relationship between men and machine. This relationship was later to transform the economy to be less dependent to the agriculture base. The shift to privatization of the industries was to create better economic conditions and entrepreneurial outlook to the development of the industries. This was the first major shift from politicization to privatization. This transformation can be attributed to Economical factors. It may be worth noting at this stage that in parallel to privatization process, in socialistic countries such as Russia and China, the state ownership of the industries was the logical extension of the agriculture economy based on collective ownership of the land. Later on, it was this reality disconnect amongst the socialistic countries, which led to their rethinking in initiating economic reforms paving way to privatization.

Exhibit 1. P4 Evolution Model

Evolution Model

Exhibit 2. P4 Model Opportunities

Model Opportunities

Exhibit 3. P4 Model Difficulties

Model Difficulties

Privatization mode of P4 evolution provided a great boost to the economic development. In the early phase of privatization, we could see a great deal of “family owned” businesses. Professional-ization became the third major movement in the P4 evolution to drive to the extent one can achieve the introduction of professional outlook in managing business. Business was constantly getting affected due to competitive factors. Monopolies were getting washed out. The new comers who brought with them a new passion to create market place for themselves threatened the existing business. This transformation from privatization to professional-ization was primarily due to Competitive factors of the business.

In the last decade of the 20th century, we witnessed the unfolding of the Internet age providing an effective instrument to connect Global “Minds.” For the first time in the civilization, global human networks were started to get form with having far reaching implications than ever imagined by the forward management thinkers. This started to open up the immense opportunities to have global connectivity. Two major issues aware addressed simultaneously—one relating to the shortage f resources as one can reach globe for out-sourcing the resources and through virtual teams and the shortage. The other one was the phenomena of 7x24. Time was always in sort supply. It was the globalization process, which allowed people to have working teams around the globe on a seven-day basis with 24 hours per day. Sun never sets on the globe. This globalization process gave rise to the fourth P of P4 evolution and that is Projectization. It is the only way where one can realize dreams faster, better, and cheaper.

Politicization to Privatization to Professionalization and to Pro-jectization provides the seamless connection between various phases of economic development of human economical and social structures.

It is interesting to note that all the four P4 processes exist even today. The international development related issues are more close to privatization and professionalization than the projectization. Having said so, we have tremendous opportunities to leap frog and jump few stages in between to catch up the lost time. One does not have to go through the conventional path of telephony based on copper to move into wireless based technology. The limitations are not going to be the technology but the lack of “Project Mindset” and attitude based on out-of-box thinking.

Exploring “Opportunities” in P4 Evolution Process

The opportunities toward using project management related art and science based tools and techniques vary considerably from one stage of P4 evolution process to the next stage. As shown in Exhibit 2, the opportunities vary on a scale from 100 to 1.

Exhibit 4. P4 Model Energy Level

P4 Model Energy Level

The transformation to Privatization from Politicization provides immense opportunities to socialistic based economies and those who are still to mature in a big way to the industrial age. The opportunities as exploited since the beginning to the end of the 20th century can all be compressed into few years. The scale of 100 to 10 to 1 in this P4 model is hosen to reflect the opportunities, which are available in transforming from one level of P4 model to the next one. The opportunities from privatization to professionalization get reduced to a level of 4 and it is reduced to a level of 1 when changing from Professionalism to Projectization stage. The reason for the variation in opportunity lies in the fact of maturity of the organizations and the society at different level of P4 model.

Facing “Difficulties” in P4 Evolution Process

The Difficulties toward using project management related art and science based tools and techniques vary considerably from one stage of P4 evolution process to the next stage. As shown in Exhibit 3, the difficulties vary on a scale from 100 to 1.

The wide difference in the difficulty level from moving to Pro-jectization stage of p4 model lies in the fixed mould thinking process. It may be mentioned here that the most difficult thing to change is the frame of mind. Thinking or the attitude of an individual/company/society is the operating system governing the change management process and very difficult to affect transition. In light of the set of well-ingrained rules and procedures in the politicization mode pf P4, it is extremely difficult to move to project mindset required in privatization mode. Similar to opportunities pattern, Quantum of difficulties follow the trend.

It is interesting to note the paradox between the existence of the opportunities and how difficult it is to exploit the same.

Facing “Energy” in P4 Evolution Process

The Energy toward using project management related art and science based tools and techniques vary considerably from one stage of P4 evolution process to the next stage. As shown in Exhibit 4, the Energy varies on a scale from 1 to 100.

This is an interesting paradox. In a normal pattern of thinking, one would tend to associate higher level of energy required to over come higher level of difficulties. In the Exhibit 4, we have shown the inverse relationship between Energy level required to difficulties encounter. What is the justification?

The energy is related to the rate of change in difficulties. As we reach the plateau, the rate of change is reduced considerably and consequently we need to have more energy to maintain the similar rate of change. Where as level of difficulties vary directly with the setting of fixed mind, the energy would vary indirectly with the slope of change or compulsion to mange a new scenario.

Application of P4 Model to International Development

P4 Evolution model with projectization being shown at the highest level of society/organization's aim is easy to understand. Mostly International Development projects relate to the economic upliftment of the members of the society to meet their daily necessities. Daily necessities could relate to healthcare, food, water, shelter, and education. While the difference in the per capita income amongst the nations vary so significantly that one often wanders the sustainability of such large standard deviation. The delivery of Water, Gas, Telephone, Road, and Electricity conquered the thirst, cold, isolation, and darkness. They created the most spectacular changes in the history of mankind in the past. To one generation, they were technological miracles. To the next generation, they were part of life. It is this variation, which distinguishes the four levels of Processes encountered by the human race in moving from one level of necessity to anther. The definition of necessity changes with change in the perception of people.

It is in the interest of the project management community to face the challenge of applying appropriate tools and techniques, which may relate to the large variations of economic disparity. The project management body of knowledge suiting to the international development projects would vary significantly if you look at the level of the positioning within P4 model. If the Politicization level can be assigned a value of 1 and Projectization stage of P4 model as 4, then the application of tools and techniques and the project management body of language will vary considerably with the point range of number between 1 to 4. We are at the crossroads where we can see all the four directions of the P4 process and it is at this juncture that we need to take e definite direction to lead the future of the human race.

In the human race, there is no finishing line as one line changes to the next one but little farther away.

Proceedings of the Project Management Institute Annual Seminars & Symposium
October 3–10, 2002 • San Antonio, Texas, USA



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