project man­age­ment

The emer­gence of projects as the eco­nomic en­gine of our times is si­lent but in­cred­i­bly dis­rup­tive and pow­er­ful. In 2019, I fore­see the fol­low­ing five trends.

The Smart Manager - - Contents Jan- Feb 2019 -

Pro­fes­sor An­to­nio Ni­eto-Ro­driguez is the world's lead­ing cham­pion of project man­age­ment, rec­og­nized by Thinkers50. He is the au­thor of the up­com­ing book, The Project Revo­lu­tion.

surge im­por­tance of projects in the

global econ­omy: in the new eco­nomic and devel­op­ment global land­scape, projects are be­com­ing the es­sen­tial model to create value and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. In Ger­many, for ex­am­ple, ap­prox­i­mately 40 per­cent of the turnover and the ac­tiv­i­ties of Ger­man com­pa­nies are per­formed as projects. This is only go­ing to in­crease. In fact, sim­i­lar per­cent­ages can be found in most West­ern economies. The fig­ures are even higher in In­dia, China, and some of the other lead­ing Asian economies, where project-based work has been an es­sen­tial el­e­ment in their eco­nomic emer­gence. The so-called gig econ­omy is driven by projects.

se­nior lead­ers will need to ded­i­cate more

time to project work: presently, ex­ec­u­tives, se­nior lead­ers and man­agers ded­i­cate ap­prox­i­mately

10 to 15 per­cent of their time to project work, mostly par­tic­i­pat­ing at steer­ing com­mit­tees. My pre­dic­tion is that by 2025, re­gard­less of the in­dus­try or sec­tor, se­nior lead­ers and man­agers will spend at least 60 per­cent of their time select­ing, pri­or­i­tiz­ing, and driv­ing the ex­e­cu­tion of projects. We will all be­come project lead­ers, de­spite never hav­ing been trained to be so.

boards of di­rec­tors will ded­i­cate sig­nif­i­cantly more time to pri­or­i­tize, se­lect,

and over­see strate­gic projects: boards play a crit­i­cal role in value cre­ation and long-term or­ga­ni­za­tional suc­cess. In the present tur­bu­lent times, pro­vid­ing di­rec­tion and pri­or­i­tiz­ing ini­tia­tives have be­come es­sen­tial com­pe­ten­cies for boards. When or­ga­ni­za­tions ex­e­cute too many strate­gic projects with­out clear pri­or­i­ti­za­tion from the top, they will be spread too thinly—teams will fight for re­sources, com­mit­ments to con­trib­ute to cer­tain projects will not be re­spected, and most projects will fail to meet their ini­tial cost, time and ben­e­fit es­ti­mates. Con­versely, ig­no­rance of the ac­count­abil­ity du­ties by di­rec­tors in these mat­ters is a weak­ness in cor­po­rate gover­nance that can have dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for cor­po­ra­tions, de­stroy­ing a vast amount of value and of­ten push cor­po­ra­tions to the verge of col­lapse.

in­crease in­vest­ment in de­vel­op­ing project

im­ple­men­ta­tion ca­pa­bil­i­ties: with the cur­rent speed of change, prod­ucts be­come com­modi­ties quickly, so com­pa­nies will be look­ing for new prod­ucts and new sources of rev­enue much faster than in the past. That means many new projects and new op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­fes­sional project man­agers.

Com­pa­nies will be look­ing for people who can bring growth, change, create value, bring dis­ci­pline, work across the busi­ness, and de­velop high-per­form­ing teams. Large part of train­ing and devel­op­ment bud­gets will be in­vested in train­ing em­ploy­ees and man­age­ment on de­vel­op­ing those skills. Un­der­stand­ing how projects can con­trib­ute to the bot­tom line or the busi­ness strat­egy and ben­e­fits. fo­cus on ben­e­fits and im­pact: tech­nol­ogy and global com­pe­ti­tion are speed­ing up the way com­pa­nies and prod­ucts are de­vel­oped. Prod­uct launches, suc­cesses, and fail­ures are com­ing faster than ever. The neg­a­tive side of this is that com­pa­nies do not have the pa­tience or abil­ity to wait. In the past, a project might take three years to be com­pleted, and about the fifth year, it would de­liver its strate­gic ben­e­fit. That is not pos­si­ble any longer. We must de­liver faster, and our project ap­proach has to evolve, es­pe­cially fo­cus­ing on ben­e­fits, and find­ing ways to ob­tain them quickly. This is a sig­nif­i­cant shift in the way we run projects to­day in our or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The good news of this surge in im­por­tance of projects is that project-based work is hu­man-cen­tric. Projects can­not be car­ried out by ma­chines; they need hu­mans to do the work. Hu­mans must gather to­gether around the pur­pose of the project, di­vid­ing up the work, bond­ing, in­ter­act­ing, and ad­dress­ing emo­tional as­pects to create a high-per­form­ing team. Tech­nol­ogy will of course play a role in projects. It will im­prove the se­lec­tion of projects and in­crease the chances of suc­cess. But tech­nol­ogy will be an en­abler and not the goal. Project revo­lu­tion will be led by people like you.

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