20 May 2011

What if our whole world view of project management is wrong, Redux

This is in response to a recent comment from Will on a 2008 post called "What if our whole world view of project management is wrong?"

There is a conversation going on among some of the agile thought leaders about replacing the project paradigm with product management.

If the world of software development shifts to many small projects (e.g. a week or two long) the 'unique endeavor' thing fades away and software development becomes operational.

The human side of projects - change management can also become operational by getting the business stakeholders to also adopt the cadence of small releases.

There is still plenty of room for project management - on things that really are unique and special.

But project management has been applied in many instances where it has been effective in resolving unmanaged chaos, but has in fact been the wrong solution for the problem.

FYI - Will pointed me to a new Dr Whitty post on Youtube. Always worth a watch.


  1. Wow…so let me see if I’m seeing this right (and I think the talk given by Whitty points this out too, but I only see that part of it now you mention it). Work (let’s not call them projects for a minute) is subject to different pressures when it occurs in different cultural/ business environments (like an animal or plant is in a physical environment). How the work unfolds (the actions taken e.g. more operational controls, a change management focus, or project management function) has an impact on the survival chances of that work in that environment. Sometimes (depending on the work and the environment) project management is appropriate, sometimes other functions are. But generally speaking, because it’s rather fashionable (and there are quick rewards for those who use it) project management is applied inappropriately. If I’m on the right track, I’ve got a big day ahead of me. Will.

  2. Will, that's my thinking. I could elaborate it all day, but I'd rather hear about your thinking. Tell us more.