Disposable System Development – A New Paradigm for Managing ICT Projects in the Innovation Age: Part 2: How to Manage Projects Today and Tomorrow


By Professor Hubert Vaughan 

Beijing, China

Doing business today is not the same as 60 years ago, or 40, or even 20 for that matter. It is much more competitive and globalized, and the nature of IT solutions changed along the way. Instead of supporting business operations for efficiency and accuracy during the “Automation Age”, it becomes a management tool to decide on investment and market share during the “Information Age”. Today, we are looking at developing software to search for market opportunity and product behaviors for sustainable growth and profitability. We are indeed stepping into a new era, the “Innovation Age” of information technology.

IT projects today frequently include technology that the development team may not have acquired specific knowledge about, thus requiring engagement of external experts to work on such onetime activity. Certain new risk elements will be incurred when focused around collaboration, co-operation, out-sourcing, and procurement during project delivery. The change of project activity requires project managers to change their management approach in managing their engagement in order to have a better chance of success.

What Project Managers manage in “Reality”

Project Managers manage projects, of course. But what is a project? According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), it’s a temporary group (of) activities designed to produce a unique product, service or result. A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources. And a project is unique in that it is not a routine operation, but a specific set of operations designed to accomplish a singular goal. So a project team often includes members who don’t usually work together – sometimes from different organizations and across multiple geographies. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building or bridge, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market — all are projects. They must be expertly managed to deliver the on-time, on-budget results, learning and integration that organizations need.

Therefore, project managers are supposed to manage “activities” designed to produce a unique product, service or result. If “activities” are not designed in an effective and logical manners that leads to the completion of such unique product, service or result, no matter how well the project managers apply the knowledge, skills and techniques acquired from the PMBOK Guide, projects will fail.


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Editor’s note: This series of articles is by Professor Hubert Vaughan, recently retired from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and is based on his research over the last ten years during which he has developed some new approaches for managing major information and communication technology projects.

About the Author

flag-chinapmwj17-dec2013-vaughan-AUTHOR IMAGEProfessor Hubert Vaughan (Retired)

Beijing, China

Hubert Vaughan commenced his career in the field of computer technology in early 1972. For thirty years, Hubert practiced and served a number of International technology and financial Organizations including IBM, DEC, Unisys, Tandem, Bell Canada, Andersen Consulting, Lucent Technologies, National Mutual, ANZ Banking Group and Bank of Montreal; holding senior management positions in Technology related services. His career covered the five major continents around the world as Department Manager, Director, Assistant Vice President, and Vice President that spanned across software development, professional services, product development, technology consulting, project/program management, strategic planning as well as business development.

The last ten years, Hubert joined the Academic Institutions in China as Professor at the Institute of International Engineering Project Management (IIEPM) of Tsinghua University. Hubert also lectured at the Graduate School of China Academy of Science, the Beijing University of Aeronautic and Astronautic, teaching Innovation Management, Management of Technology, Program Management, Project management, and Software Engineering.

Apart from his teaching engagements, Hubert is a Research Fellow at the China Academy of Management Science, a member of the International Society of Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), a former member of PMI’s Certification Governance Council (CGC); a co-founder of First International Innovation Management Alliance (FiiMA), and an Editorial Advisor of professional e-journal PM World Journal. Hubert is a Program Consultant to a number of multi-billion dollar projects run by State-Owned technology organizations and financial institutions in China.

Hubert is a regular presenter at international conferences and seminars in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific. He had published more than fifty papers related to Software Engineering, Project Management, Program Management, and Innovation Management subjects both in China and in various international professional journals.  Retired from his academic engagement in July 2013, Hubert continues his research work in Innovation Engineering and presents at international events about his research findings throughout his career. He can be contacted at [email protected]