Project Management Principles - has anything really changed?
Project Management doesn’t stand still.
I had the pleasure to speak all about this topic and Project Management Principles with two other fantastic speakers Shirley Thompson and Karen Thompson at the latest Digital Project Management Bournemouth meetup.
Hosted by the fab team doing even more fab stuff to create a positive impact in the world, with web and apps, at Createful.
We covered the past, the present and the future of Project Management.
To be able to chair a discussion with other aspiring project managers, current project managers and the business community was so positive. Shhh, here's a secret we discovered, you know what? In the discussion we all found we have the same issues in projects. No really! We do!
To kick off our topic and debating we asked our audience, as a Project Manager do you even know which principles you’re using and why?
Why does this matter?
The old school Project Manager.
Shirley with over 30+ years from IBM, has all the experience of traditional Project Management in software engineering. Now with her coaching hat on, her experience and questioning really got us all thinking.
Her challenge and statement to us, was nothing really has changed over the years to the basics or principles of project management...
That we used to call a meeting to discuss and focus on an area (like the standups of today), that we set out the benefits of why we were doing the project, so what's changed she asked?
Re-thinking Project Management
Karen Thompson had a long career in Information Systems and Technology that included strategic consultancy and now is a leading academic at Bournemouth University. Her current project is research towards her PhD on the role of social media in Project Management.
The insights Karen shared were fascinating and all spot on! The role of communications and social channels for how projects are kept alive and evolving is how she discussed with the group how to re-think project management. The new definitions were food for thought and here they are;
[Project] "a temporary set of roles tied together by channels of communication to achieve change' [Karen Thompson, 2017]
[Project Management] “the art and science of achieving change by enabling communication, coordination and integration amongst temporary roles to convert vision into reality” [Karen Thompson, 2017]
Concluding that project management is about people management or communication amongst people...
Re-invention of the PM
I ended the trio of speakers on this topic and brought us all up to date to Agile and Artificial Intelligence.
I'm also off the ilk of Shirley and Karen, trained in Prince II and started my career working on waterfall delivery for General Electric and others for a decade. I then saw I needed to adapt and reinvent myself, several times over for what businesses were looking for from Project Managers to navigate today's business environment.
Business wanted change faster, lower costs - the usual squeeze. I talked about the 12 Agile principles but was asked do I use these in my role? The short answer was the same as the two other areas, yes to a point, as a reference like Prince II but I use mostly emotional intelligence with team work and priorities from the business to get the job done.
Agile allows a PM to build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
We discussed Artificial Intelligence (AI) in project management. Possibly just the new buzzword like 'Big Data' was for quite some time. There is a significant surge is observed in tool mobility, analysis, and performance-oriented usage.
Are you excited about the new wave of possibilities? Are you wondering how artificially intelligent workplaces can become quite productive? It’s time to change your day-to-day project management tactics and replace them with more technologically smart ones.
In the end the discussion decided that that the main Project Management principles we'd advocate is facilitating shared, realistic expectations, by keeping two-way communications flowing amongst stakeholders and influencing anyone else who could risk the project.
How can you get involved or find out more about PM Principles? What are you going to do different after attending DPM Bournemouth or reading this write up of the event?
To signup to the next DPM Bournemouth visit meetup.com