Project Management

Innovation vs. PMFs

Al Taylor is an independent IT contractor in Ontario, Canada.

Is it an overstatement to suggest that innovation in the IT field has long been a major driver in the advancement of society? I think not. While most of us cannot claim to be the key drivers of innovations that have transformed the world, many of us can take credit for innovations that have helped our employers and our clients achieve business strategies, thus improving the lives of their customers, employees and shareholders.

This claim can be made by workers in any profession where the work lends itself to the creative process and innovation. We can safely assume that most firms expect and need their IT professionals--and perhaps especially those working on projects--to innovate.

In this article, we suggest that there is a contradiction between the need to innovate in the project environment and the Project Management Frameworks (PMFs) that control many aspects of our project activities. In some IT shops, PMFs control what work is done, when it is done, who it is done by, the pace of the work and how work completion is defined. I suggest that these types of controls are counter-productive with respect to innovation.

I am not an expert on PMFs, so I have to assume that part of the rational for the PMFs in the IT project model is to ensure that high-quality software that satisfies business requirements is developed in accordance with the traditional project constraints…

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