Perfect Storm or Tempest in a Teapot?

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at

Over the last few columns, I have taken a theoretical journey into exploring the consequences were project management to actually become a profession. The inspiration for this, in many senses, was a change in tone and vocabulary in how some of the professional associations--most notably PMI--are describing their role and the discipline that they support. The tagline of "building professionalism in project management" evolved to "35 years of advocating the profession" in the course of the last year.

Judging by the volume and passion with which people have responded to these columns, clearly this is a debate that is ripe to be had, and a debate that is needed. Some questioned whether the move to a profession is likely to occur soon, or if we should necessarily be constrained in our thinking of what a profession might look like. Others spoke of the challenges and issues they are already seeing as issues of personal accountability and responsibility get raised in an environment of greater corporate scrutiny.

Where the debate has to start, however, is not on the form that a profession would take but on what value and consequences the creation of a profession holds in store. Examining this issue from the perspective of the many stakeholders--project managers, associations and companies--has been the objective of this series of articles. If this is a debate that is worth …

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"If nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve"

- General William T. Sherman