Advances in Project Management: Is it a time to rethink project management?


By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire



On the evidence of the authors of the new Gower book Advances in Project Management: Narrated Journeys in Unchartered Territory, there is a sea change coming. That change will affect the way projects are perceived, lead and governed, particularly in the context of the wider organization to which they belong; whether that is in the public, private or not-for profit sectors.

The era of project management

Project management is increasingly being recognised as a key competence in many organisations in both the public and private sectors. Trends such as downsizing, reduced management layers, greater flexibility, distributed teams and the challenges of rapidly evolving technology have taken project management beyond its routes in the construction, engineering and aerospace industries and are playing a part in transforming the service, financial, IT and general management sectors. Academic courses, professional training and accreditation programmes are blossoming as practitioners seek to enhance their knowledge, skills and competencies. Television programs such as The Apprentice have made the acronym PM, representing a person, a role or a function, familiar to most viewers, while Fortune even rated project management as the number one career choice at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Project management offers the discipline and framework required to help organisations to transform their mainstream operations and service performance. It is viewed as a way of organising for the future. Moreover, in an increasingly busy, stressful and uncertain world it has become necessary to manage multiple projects successfully at the same time.

Project management is a core competence required to deliver change measured in terms of achieving desired outcomes with associated benefits. With projects increasingly viewed as managing the change efforts of society, project management is increasingly called upon to cross functional, organisational and societal boundaries and handle the inherent complexity and uncertainty required to bring about a new reality.

Yet despite the growing interest, many organisations have struggled to apply the traditional models of project management to their new projects in the global environment. Anecdotal and evidence-based research confirms that projects continue to fail at an alarming rate. A major part of the build-up to failure is often recognized as the lack of adequate project management knowledge and experience.


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Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK. Each month an introduction to the current article is provided by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM. Prof Dalcher’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ. Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement

About the Author 

Darren Dalcher, PhDDarren Dalcher, PhD flag-uk

Series Editor

Director, National Centre for Project Management

University of Hertfordshire, UK

Darren Dalcher, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK. He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London. Professor Dalcher has written over 150 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Software Process Improvement and Practice, an international journal focusing on capability, maturity, growth and improvement. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Gower Publishing of a new companion series Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond. He is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board. Prof Dalcher is an academic editorial advisor for the PM World Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.