by Cyndee Miller
George Lucas was a project manager. And the Star Wars production team? A PMO.
So declared Bob Safian, former editor of Fast Company, at the start of PMO Symposium. Sure, Star Wars may be a 1970s-era example from PMI’s list of 50 Most Influential Projects, but it also embodies a mentality that speaks to the future. We’re entering The Project Economy, where people have the skills to turn ideas into reality, and organizations deliver value through the successful completion of projects. Work is no longer about static job responsibilities, but a sequence of tasks.
Why the switch? “The Project Economy is about the need for speed, flexibility and learning,” Mr. Safian said.
It’s a way to try things out—and get things done. Young workers today aren’t looking to land the job they’ll have for the rest of their lives. They’re looking for the tasks and experiences that will grow their skills, he explained. And organizations are seeing the payoff, too.
It’s just part of the deal for Daniel Ek, CEO and co-founder of music streaming giant Spotify. He hires top leaders for a two-year “tour of duty.” At the end of that cycle, they may re-up for another tour—but only if the goal still makes sense. “It’s how he builds fluidity, adaptability and effectiveness into the company,” Mr. Safian explained.
With so much changing so fast, he encouraged project leaders to continually ask themselves three key questions:
1. Is this Day One? It’s a maxim that Jeff Bezos uses at Amazon. In other words, are you going into work every day as if it’s your first and you can start from scratch?
2. Is what you’re doing relevant to the next generation?
3. Are you embracing and encouraging a growth mindset?
“If you resolve all these questions, we can make tremendous change and make a tremendous impact on the world ahead of us,” Mr. Safian said.
Because whether they’re working on a construction project or a blockbuster film franchise, project leaders everywhere share a common purpose: delivery.
“In business there’s a lot of dialogue, a lot of talk about strategy, leadership, metrics and planning. But at the end of the day it’s about producing tangible results,” Mr. Safian said. “That’s what you all do. That’s the purpose of project management. That’s the purpose of business. And that’s the purpose of humanity—to get something tangible done.”
Let’s hear it: How is The Project Economy changing how you get something tangible done?