What Do Organizations Do in This Brave New World?

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 markmullaly.com.

Does the next generation even do projects? That was the question that I asked in last month’s column. Judging by not just the number of comments but their sheer thoughtfulness and reflection, it clearly struck a chord.

The forces that are driving changes in perceptions in projects, in process and in how we work in teams are real, significant and not going away any time soon. The pressure to deliver—and do so quickly—is continuing to ramp up. Standards and frameworks strive to become more formal. They are also overlapping with each other, staking out the same turf from different perspectives. Frontline staff are figuring out the essentials they need to do their work successfully. PMOs are trying to make it all consistent. And executives just want to get everything done.

Arguably, some of these challenges aren’t new. They’re extrapolations of forces that have been in play for years, if not decades. But the tension between the various positions is growing. And that tension isn’t sustainable. Something is eventually going to give.

That has some fundamental implications for organizations, how they think about projects and how they think about project management. It is going to particularly have an influence on the expectations that organizations set for how projects are delivered, and—if we’re very honest with ourselves—…

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A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes.

- English proverbs