Project Management

Project Management Past and Present: Setting the Stage for Citizen Developer

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By Mario Trentim

As the project management profession developed and matured, more and more organizations understood that project management is indispensable to business results. Project management is a life skill, enabling people and organizations to turn ideas into results.

This article will guide you on a journey to describe why and how project management changed overtime, discussing future applications and implications of hybrid approaches, citizen development, PMOs, and agile organizations.


Early Days of Project Management

Can you imagine a time in which there was no job title "project manager"?  There was a time in which project management did not exist as a discipline or profession. Back in the 1960s, practitioners started to collaborate in compiling best practices because of large engineering projects. Since then, "for at least six decades, project management (PM) has been an established discipline with well-subscribed bodies of practitioners and commonly accepted methodologies and standards such as PMBOK® and PRINCE2® (Padalkar and Gopinath, 2016)."

Figure 1 – Operations, systems engineering, and project management processes.


Traditional project management approaches included many process tools and techniques because they were initially designed to manage large engineering projects interfacing with operations and systems engineering (Figure 1). On top of that, engineering and development strategies from the past adopted waterfall approaches and sequential phases.

In 2001, the Agile Manifesto started a revolution in software development and project management. At that time, agile projects were associated with small or medium IT projects, while traditional approaches were associated with large engineering projects.

Even though both approaches could have been tailored, adapted, blended, and connected, this was not a reality until the next decade. 


Current and Emergent Practices in Project Management

Between 2010 and 2020, we expanded our understanding of project management. PM's field is diffuse and multi-disciplinary and offers a considerable body of literature in related areas like agile project management, strategy execution, business analysis, and more. There are various methods and frameworks, and we realized that we could build our hybrid methods. But how?

Figure 2 – Disciplined agile toolkit (PMI)

Disciplined Agile (Figure 2) is a toolkit to help people and organizations to fully and truly become agile by combining different execution approaches, including serial and agile, to the other business processes in an integrated fashion. Describing DA in detail is beyond this article's scope, but that leads us to "What's next?"


The Future of Project Management – Citizen Development?

We started the project management revolution, making project management indispensable for business results sixty years ago. At that time, project management was bureaucratic and prescriptive, as it should have been to manage large engineering projects in hierarchical and structured organizations based on Taylorism.

The Agile Manifesto and agile approaches sparked another revolution toward flexible and adaptable project management. As a result, we have multiple "ways to Rome." There are so much content and guidance that it is difficult to know how and where to start.

In a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, attention and cognitive bandwidth are the most important assets to every person and, consequently, to every company. To that extent, the future of project management, the future of management, and the future of work must rely on technology to empower people to achieve more.

Digital transformation means organizations can embed their processes into customized and integrated tools, making technology central to every business model. It is not about efficiency only; it is about new behaviors (employee experience, customer experience, stakeholders experience). Automation and digitization are just the beginning.

We need people capable of continuously strategizing and implementing digital transformation, which implies that project management and citizen development go hand-in-hand with business areas and business processes.

My conclusion is that the Citizen Development Revolution is the next big thing in project management. We, PMs, BAs, are change-makers. And the PMI Citizen Development framework combines those disciplines, as I will explain in my article next week. 


Please leave your comments and thoughts below. 

Posted by Mario Trentim on: March 04, 2021 12:00 PM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Mario
Very interesting the theme that brought to our reflection and debate.
Thank you for sharing
I look forward to your next reflections

Kwiyuh Michael Wepngong Financial Management Specialist | US Peace Corps / Cameroon Yaounde, Centre, Cameroon
Hi Mario
Thanks for sharing this

Mario Trentim CEO| PMO Global Alliance Sao Jose Dos Campos, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thank you Luis and Kwiyuh.

Jelili Odunayo Kazeem Co-Founder| Convosync Solutions Limited Enugu, En, Nigeria
I can't agree more. Great insights. Thanks for sharing, Mario!

Rogerio Castilho RIP Serviços Industriais - KAEFER GROUP Brazil
Olá Mario, excelente reflexão, muito obrigado por compartilhar!

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