The future of project management

I sometimes get questions about the future of project management. How will theory, processes and principles develop during this decade?

It is of course impossible to predict the future, but I have a strong feeling that I actually know where things are heading. In my opinion there are two megatrends, reaching their peak during this decade that will have very important implications on the subject.

The first megatrend started some years after WW II:  Rapid knowledge development of us as humans. The development of new knowledge within areas like social anthropology, behavior science and the human brain has increased exponentially, and is continuing to do so.

In the past 30 years we have learnt more about the human brain and human behavior than in the previous 3000 years. A scientific revolution within management theory has occurred. We know how people learn. How people are motivated. How to shape efficient behavior in high-performance teams. And what is critical for creating trust and coordinate commitments to succeed with professional projects.

In the same time frame a revolution in social technology has occurred. This is the second megatrend.  Almost every human being will before the end of this decade, be ubiquitously connected to a global wireless communication network via powerful multimedia devices of different sizes.

All this has completely changed the prerequisites for how we can efficiently organize human work. When we at Projectplace leverage modern social science and new social media inspired collaborative technology to help projects succeed, we call it Social Project Management.

However, Social Project Management is not something completely new or different. It is our name of the latest stage in the management transformation that started after World War II. Concurrent Engineering, Kaizen, Lean Production and Agile Software Development are development stages in the same direction. 

There is no turning back to views on project management based on old scientific management principles conceived by Frederick Taylor or Henri Fayol.  In the future our project management theories and best practice will be even more based on human behavior science and available collaborative technology. And even if it is not labeled as “social” it will be more social than ever.

Do you agree with my prediction?

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