Project Management

3 Ways to Respond to Disruption as a Project Manager

PMI Toronto Chapter

Bruce is the founder of, a resource for growing IT project managers.

“Technological disruption” is a polite new-age term for a much older concept: creative destruction.

Coined by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, he defined the term as follows:

“The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation—if I may use that biological term—that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism.”

Since 2000, we have seen the rise of technologies and companies that have caused disruption. As a reminder, here is a short list of industries that suffered disruption:

  • Music retail: Apple’s iTunes, Spotify and other companies took customers away from traditional music retailers.
  • Book retail: Amazon is now the world’s largest book retailer by a large margin. Traditional book stores are struggling to survive.
  • Travel agents: The rise of online booking services like Expedia have made it tough for travel agents to thrive.

What does disruption mean for project managers? Without your input and leadership, your career and organization are going to suffer from disruption. You might see this in lower profit …

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