Dear PMI Members


In the film Star Trek: Insurrection, Data the android, says to a little boy, “my operations depend on specifications that do not change.”


While Data’s success as an android depended on his specs never changing, I am not sure we can say that for projects. Now more than ever Bob Dylan’s words ring true: The times, they are a-changing! Not only is the world changing, it is changing at exponential rates, even as I write this message. We live in an environment where the market and the context of projects is often characterised by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.


Change and the 4th Industrial Revolution


The rapid technological change and accelerated pace of innovation in this era of the 4th Industrial Revolution, which impacts every aspect of life, is causing disruption across industries and markets. World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab states in his 2015 article that the 4th industrial revolution has brought about greater and rapidly shifting customer expectations, greater demand for enhanced value in products and services, the need to collaborate in innovation, and organisational culture, talent and structures that support this.


So what does this mean for your projects and for project management in general? Projects are drivers of organisational change and means for creating value – not only for business but society at large. Questions that arise from this state of affairs are numerous: What does it take to get a project right, the first time?  Should we even get it right, the first time? How do we define ‘right’ and who decides what’s ‘right’?

Getting it Right


The way we think about projects and project management is changing rapidly. Getting it right has historically evolved around getting scope, schedule and budget right at the start and minimising change. The focus was based on a predictable linear approach to the project life cycle, or the waterfall approach. Emphasis was on the internal organisational environment of the primary project stakeholders and less on the external operating environment or context of the project and broader stakeholders.


PMI’s Pulse of the Profession study found that project management approaches, through necessity, are becoming more adaptive, with 41% of the respondents using agile or hybrid approaches. The latest edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 6th edition) has called for tailoring projects that operate in environments requiring adaptive, agile and iterative approaches, and as such has integrated agile methodologies in the latest edition.


However, this is just the beginning of the discussion. Being only agile is not sufficient. Who defines what is ‘right’ is equally important, as well as the techniques used and the participants involved in the process.

Join us at the PM Summit 2017


For answers to these questions and an opportunity to debate and engage with industry experts, don’t miss PMI South Africa’s PM Summit on 9 November 2017, at the Accolades Convention Centre in Midrand.  Learn about managing projects in an ever-changing age of dynamism, exponential change and disruption.   Join us for a day of delving into with new ways of thinking and project management approaches, with strategic emphasis on value creation for individual organisation and society. Sessions will be lively and provocative, dealing with all areas of project management such as stakeholder engagement, governance, leadership, benefits realisation, sustainability for individual business and society at large, new approaches to PM such as design thinking, and the importance of on-time business analytics.


What are your thoughts about getting it right? We’d like to hear from you. Start the discussion early! Post your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.


See you at the PM Summit!

Dr Lynn A. Keeys
PMI South Africa Chapter

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