Project Management Framework: from Traditional to Adaptive Project Management

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 04/26/2010 08:34 AM

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Projects are the engines that drive the innovation and the change. Yet they have been ignored for a long time by top managers. This is why many projects do not meet their objectives. To unleash the hidden potential that exists in projects, companies must learn how to manage them in a highly adaptive and flexible way. Once the new frameworks are adopted, projects have the potential of becoming one of the most powerful competitive assets of modern corporations.

As a formal discipline, project management was born in the middle of the 20th century. The Manhattan project, which built the first atomic bomb during World War II, displayed the principles of organization, planning and direction that influenced the development of standard practices for managing projects. During the Cold War, additional large and complex projects demanded new approaches. Programs in Air force and Navy were used to develop the management control procedure called Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT). Evolving simultaneously was the critical path method, which was invented by DuPont for construction projects. These methods led to network scheduling charts, which became standard planning and controlling tools of project management.

The Underlying Opportunity

During the past few decades many organizations focused on improving their operations but not their projects. This trend goes back to the turn of the 20th century when Frederick Taylor developed his scientific management principles, which greatly influenced the evolution of mass production systems, and it continues to this date with more concepts such as just in time, lean manufacturing, re – engineering, supply chain management, and of course, the latest one, Six Sigma. Although operational efficiency is important, it has its limitations. With time, at least conceptually, all companies may reach a similar level of efficiency. Additional investments in efficiency mat not bring the advantages that it has created in the past. At...