Managing and Working in Project Society
By Mats Ragnarsson and Rolf A. Lundin, PhD
Every year the Swedish Project Academy chooses “The Project Manager of the Year” as one of many ways to promote and develop project work by awarding good practices. The functions of the academy have been alluded to in a previous article in PM World Journal (Lundin & Söderholm, 2012). The award has been given every year since the project academy started in 1994. When the decision is made on the recipient to receive the award, the criteria are: exerted leadership, project results, project scope, complexity and fresh ideas. It is significant that it is project leadership rather than project management that is rewarded!
Chosen for 2016 were two persons, one female and one male: Charlotte Dingertz and Claes Johannesson who both are working for the local government of Stockholm connected to public schools. The fact that two persons received the award for the same project is in a way significant for this part of the world, where leadership is not considered to be concentrated to one person only. The project has been called ”Digitalization for Better Learning”.
The young students at school today will be working in other ways and with other things than previous generations. There will be new and fundamentally changed occupations driven by the adaptation to project society and the connections to digitalization. And the new generation is in need of modern ways of teaching.
The winners this time have been in charge of a major project (or possibly a number of projects) to increase the potential of teachers to use digital means and methods to improve their work in teaching to promote profound changes in the way students learn in preparing for future needs.
The project was started in 2013 with the purpose to improve and to utilize the inherent capacities that digitalization provides for pre-university education in the Stockholm area ranging from primary schools to secondary schools. This far, the project has been very successful in the sense that for instance the secondary schools in general have increased their competence level by 35% in the digital area (according to a measurement instrument developed within the project). This was achieved only two years after the new tool was developed.
Headmasters and teachers of 180 schools were involved (and in total 12 000 employees in the school system in Stockholm). By introducing web based tools, by working out action plans and very concrete actions, by direct communication to those involved and through more than 300 visits to school sites, good and tangible results have been reached. The tools and the procedures used have demonstrated the strength of the collegial learning for the future development of the schools. The tools are unique and have renewed the thinking related to changes of the school system. One headmaster has officially described the entire venture as “the best thing ever happening in the Stockholm school system”.
Editor’s note: This series of articles from members of the Swedish Project Academy is based on the theme and concepts in the book Managing and Working in Project Society by Rolf A. Lundin, Niklas Arvidsson, Tim Brady, Eskil Ekstedt, Christophe Midler and Jorg Sydow, published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. The book won the PMI David I. Cleland Project Management Literature Award in 2016. Check back next month for another article in this series.
About the Authors
Mats Ragnarsson has 30 years of experience in project management. He spent 11 years as project manager in product development for all kinds of projects, ranging from small projects to large and complex projects involving more than 350 people. The remaining 19 years have been spent as a consultant for Wenell Management, where he has worked on international assignments for SKF and AstraZeneca. He is a coordinator for the research committee at the Swedish Project Academy, an academy that stimulates research and awards the Project Manager of the Year in Sweden.
Mats also has a history as a reserve officer in the Swedish Navy and is very interested in the ocean and boating.
Mats is author of the books:
Leading in Uncertain and Complex Projects – Supporting structures for self-management (Mats Ragnarsson and Lars Marmgren) and
Organizing Projects – From a mechanical to an organic perspective (Mats Ragnarsson and Lars Marmgren)
Jönköping International Business School
Rolf A Lundin is a professor (em.) of Business Administration at the Jönköping International Business School (JIBS) and a Courtesy Professor-in-Residence at the Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE). He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Chicago (now the Booth Business School) in Management Science. He has been a full professor since 1978, first at the business school of the University of Umeå (in northern Sweden), where he was also the founding dean of that school. In 2001 he was recruited to dean JIBS. He stepped down as dean in 2007. Since then he has been affiliated with the Media Management and Transformation Center. He has several publications in the management of projects and temporary organization area and is currently serving on the board for the PMI Global Accreditation Center which is working with accreditation of project management educational programs around the world. His current research focus is on the use of projects in media industries.
He is the lead author of the monograph Managing and Working in Project Society: Institutional Challenges of Temporary Organizations, published in 2015 by Cambridge University Press winning the 2016 PMI Book of the Year award. Rolf is active in the Swedish Project Academy. He can be contacted at Rolf.A.Lundin@ju.se