Project Management

Revisiting the PM Future

Ian Whittingham, PMP is director of Calixo Consulting, providing project and program management expertise from initiation through to implementation, covering business transformation, workflow process re-engineering, and enterprise data integration. He is a regular contributor to You may contact Ian directly at [email protected].

To look into the future—more often than not—you must first look back, into the past. Because it is only by looking at the past that you can see where the future is leading you.

Almost a decade ago—in March 2013, when I wrote those words on this site—I wanted to examine the proposition that if we want to understand what the future might look like—specifically, what project management’s future might look like—a good place to start is to look at how people in the past envisioned the future. Today, I want to look back and examine if that proposition is still valid.

In 2013, my retrospective time-travelling guides were an English novelist and a French commercial artist. Both were born in the 19th century and imagined what a future society might look like in the 21st century (and beyond), and how it might function.

In 1899, on the cusp of the 20th century, Armand Gervais et Cie—a toy manufacturer based in Lyons, France—commissioned a set of colored engravings to illustrate what the world would look like in the year 2000. They were originally printed as cigarette card inserts to promote the Exposition Universelle, hosted in Paris, in 1900.

Published as En L'An 2000, the illustrations produced by Jean-Marc Côté and other commercial artists received something of a renaissance at the beginning of this…

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