Dealing with changes in the business landscape which impact project management

an interactive forum

Introduction

This session will be presented as a “forum” which is described as “A discussion hosted by a facilitator who guides the discussion around a particular topic.” This session is not a one-directional presentation; but it will be conducted as an interactive exchange of war stories and scar tissue amongst professional colleagues in the discipline of project management. But to entice you to join us, this paper reminds you again of the focus of the session and then shares a sampling of the types of topics that may be discussed and the potential thoughts you might hear more about.

Focus of the Session

The business landscape has evolved dramatically in the past decade. And with those changes have come commensurate challenges to the discipline of project management. These challenges have impacted the processes, the people and the politics in our world. In this forum discussion, we may explore topics such as the broadening diversity within our teams, the faster/better/cheaper drivers; the dichotomy between short-term wins and long-term growth; the movement toward more impersonal relationships with alliances and business partners; business ethics; new required project management competencies; competition and pressure to collaborate…not to mention other more generic issues such as globalization, outsourcing, mergers and acquisitions, and technology, technology, technology.

Sample Topics and Responses

The Faster/Better/Cheaper Drivers - Doing More with Less

After every recession, the drive to do more with less money, to do it faster and to produce the highest quality deliverable doesn't go away. We are continually under this pressure. Among other solutions, the biggest bang for the buck is increasing productivity in a less than a supportive environment. Project practitioners are using new and creative techniques to encourage more productivity through better management and motivation.

Project Management – Accountability

Many project offices are being asking to justify their existence and the money that is being spent on behalf of Project Management. With increased visibility, the discipline of project management if being asked to account for what it has contributed lately and, more importantly, what it plans to contribute tomorrow. Management is asking for us in project management to establish measurement metrics in order prove that we are adding value to the organization.

Maturity Tracking - Managing the Evolution of the Project Management Discipline

If one has no desire to grow, there is no need to set development milestones or to track the attainment of those milestones. Project management was virtually stagnant for decades. That is no longer true. Those of us in project management have had to consider building a maturity development plan, which is reasonable and yet impressive and along with a method to monitor and track that plan to ensure planned growth rather than chaotic growth.

Teams: Even More Distant

Remote or distance teams face the challenge of geography and diversity. But what about other hurdles for teams, which “distance” people from each other: for example, varied expectations of the Baby Boomers, Generation X and soon the Millennium Generation. We must concentrate on how to better work in a multi-functional, multi-cultural, multi-age group environment.

Conclusion

Project management has been recognized was a necessary discipline which has made it more visible. Visibility can be good news; visibility can be bad news. It is important that we take time out to address these changes to the business climate and how they have impacted us in Project Management.

In this session, our objective is not to isolate and wallow in the issues. That would be too easy and a waste of our time. Our objective will be to formulate creative and practical solutions to turn what may seem to be an irresolvable problem into a manageable reality. The insights and perceptions spontaneously generated in this session will be documented and distributed to all in attendance.

© 2007, Joan Knutson
Originally published as a part of 2007 PMI Global Congress Proceedings-Atlanta

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