“The Project Management Mid-Life Crisis” Published on Outside the Triangle

Alex S. Brown, PMP IPMA-C

David Daly completed an innovative paper about the current state and future of project management on his web site. The paper is based on interviews with several project management leaders, including myself, Alex S. Brown.

He comes to three core conclusions and recommendations for project managers:

  • Focus more on people
  • Concentrate on delivering value
  • Move away from following a single project management process

I believe the first two items have been covered by many experts in the past. J. Davidson Frame touched on many of these themes in 1994 in his book “The New Project Management.” I think it is worth noting that these two goals remain unrealized today.

I think David’s argument about embracing multiple processes is more unusual. He is advocating that we tailor processes to the size, type, and nature of a project. He is warning against the pitfalls of applying a single standard to all projects in an organization. I believe he presents this view-point more clearly than I have seen in the past. It is fascinating to see this idea echoed in several of the expert interviews.

His analogy of a mid-life crisis is also instructive. I think some project managers would deny that project management is facing any kind of crisis, but that is typical of the mid-life crisis that real people experience. Often the person experiencing the mid-life crisis is the last to realize that it is even happening.

I recommend reading his paper and his blog entry about the presentation at the Association for Project Management (APM) conference.