I advise anyone interested in this subject to look at the “PMI Pulse of the Profession” report for 2013. You can easily download it here.
All indications and trends show a “breakout” of the Project Management profession, from its single project focus origins, into becoming an essential part of the organizational fiber. Organizational focus rather than project focus is definitely a key theme in many of the project management trends materializing in organizations worldwide. This will lead to marrying of organizational level improvement initiatives with Project Management Improvement Initiatives. Already, Project Management improvements are being implemented at the Enterprise level. However, currently, most implementations are undertaken in isolation from the non project activities of the organization. Some do integrate with the operational aspects of the organization but from an IT software integration perspective, more than a business process perspective.
While Project Management originally started as a way to manage a project within its organizational, cultural, and market environments, today project management is becoming more of a way to ensure value for stakeholders from the projects. So, for project management to become mainstream in an organization, it has to prove its ability to provide value from a strategic perspective, and at a sustainable level throughout the organization. In other words, Project Management cannot be judged on the results from a single high visibility project, led by a competent project manager, who got the support of upper management. It has to become a capacity for the organization to allow it to select, evaluate, prioritize, manage, and deliver value from projects in a systematic fashion that seamlessly integrate with how the organization does business.
Questions that still need to be addressed for this to fully materialize include how initiatives like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Six Sigma, Business Process Management, and Quality improvements work in unison with Project Management to build the organizational maturity. This is answered on paper but in the most theoretical ways, and in a one time instance. We need answers on the practical level that are systematic and sustainable.
For this shift to happen we will need to focus more on the strategic and business aspects of the improvement initiatives, and in a way that focuses on the business and organization, rather than on software features or the theoretical aspects of six sigma or project management.