Project Management

PMs and Disruptive Technology: Do You Know Enough?

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In a recent Pulse of the Profession® in-depth report reports, PMI tackled Next Practices: Maximizing the Benefits of Disruptive Technologies on Projects—a detailed exploration of how disruptive technologies can be leveraged to maximize project benefits. In the executive summary, there’s a discussion of some of the characteristics of innovator organizations—those best embracing disruptive technology. One of the key commitments made by those innovators was:

  • “Elevating the project manager. Innovators believe that the role of the project manager will evolve to one that advocates for the technology, motivates teams to implement, supervises course corrections, and becomes an authority on disruptive technologies.”

That was a bit of a wake-up call for me. The evolution for project managers in recent years has been away from the need to have technological expertise and instead focus on business skills—understanding how projects contribute to the achievement of an organization’s goals and objectives.

Is that now changing? Are we returning to project managers who have to be IT experts?

Focus on disruptive, not technology
I have no intention of just regurgitating the themes from PMI’s report; you can all read that for yourselves (and I encourage you to do so), but we do need to set some basic context for the concept of …

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again, and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

- Mark Twain