The Future of IT Project Management is Dependent on More Agility

Donna Fitzgerald is a seasoned PPM and strategy execution expert, specializing in practical advice designed to produce the results organizations need. She spent 10 years at Gartner helping clients solve such problems as how to effectively execute strategy, how to convert the IT PMO into an agile powerhouse and how to improve their enterprise portfolio management. Prior to Gartner, Donna ran an agile software development organization, was a product manager at two software companies, co-founded a program management consulting company and was a Silicon Valley trained CFO. She also was a co-author in 2005 of the agile project management "Declaration of Interdependence." See her blogs and more of her writing at Nimblepm.com.

Project management is not going away. It may be going away in IT, that is, if you believe everything you read from the Scrum advocates. But any unique, uncertain investment that requires people to create and build new things will still require a talented PM to keep everything moving forward. Even in the digital future, the corporate strategy will need to be executed, organizational change will need to be made, and rapid product and service innovation will continue to be required.

IT project management over the last 15 years has become a unique discipline with rules and collective behaviors that have been optimized for a specific low-risk, high-volume, high-compliance environment. With the advent of agile software development and the increasing adoption of product management, organizations are finding that there are other ways to manage semi-custom, continuous work than force-fitting it into a container called a “project.”

For many IT PMs, this is creating questions about what lies on the horizon for their PM career. The easy answer is quite a lot of change because, in the future, IT will no longer be the center of gravity for project management. This shouldn’t be hard to accept. Project management has already moved from construction in the 1940s and ’50s to aeronautics and high tech in the ’60s through the ’80s—and only arrived in…

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