Look past the buzzwords; be pragmatic
It’s clear that there is awareness of the where project management needs to shift in the future - needing to innovate, needing to be more holistic project managers (who understand strategy and business context), and needing to get in touch with the 'human' side of leadership.
However, what could have been clearer was how to achieve these steps – naming the real problems to be solved, and advice or case studies on how to change. I wonder how jumping straight to the ‘what’ and the future state impacts the potential value of these messages, especially for anyone just hearing about these concepts for the first time.
We did also hear some more specific, and sometimes personal stories: driving behavioural change by reflecting on our own selves during our darkest moments (from a figure skating champion at the old age of 18 years old – who spoke better than many of us twice her age could), and also a call to the project management community to bring about greater change in future, with real examples from the likes of DHL and the Sichuan earthquake rescue effort.
Cook the right recipe for your tastes
This is where we at why innovation! see Agile conceptually as a key enabler of change; Agile or ‘Agile transformation’ is never the end goal, but it is the mindset which helps organisations, teams and people change their behaviours and ways of working to become more meaningful and relevant. The base ingredients for the recipe for agility are often the same across different contexts, but it’s in tweaking the measurements where organisations obtain the flavour which suits them best.
As Yann (our Managing Director) mentioned during his speech at the PMI Gala dinner, this means we need new processes and practices adept at handling uncertainty. We need to make the most of technology in helping us to automate the manual activities and help us collaborate on the complex problems. But mostly, we need to unlearn the old ways of working and bring an entrepreneurial, experimental and pragmatic approach to shape the future of project management.
This is not a problem just specific to the project management/PMI community either. The most recent changes to the Scrum Guide were aimed at addressing those who just blindly followed the rulebook without understanding how to be flexible with Scrum in order to delivery meaningful outcomes. Which, mind you, is still better than those who blindly follow the rulebook without understanding Scrum at all - which we see too often from the likes of large ‘IT’ ‘consulting’ firms.
“Working together, moving forward, celebrating success”
There is definitely still a role for project management in today's world, but it will look vastly different to what most of us are used to. The future Project Manager will have to manage innovation for delivering more business value; he or she will also need to learn how to handle uncertainty to speed up time-to-market and increase solutions fit-for-purpose.
There is no question about the capacity of people to understand the concepts presented at the PMI Congress and work together and move the industry forward. However, it is mostly our inability to take incremental and visible actions towards the future which prevents us from being able to celebrate true success. Change isn’t easy – but it’s easier when we have the courage to take small steps.
What are some of those things that are blocking our way? Leave us a comment and we’d be happy to help with some pragmatic advice to help you and your teams improve.