In Search of Project Management Nirvana



By Paul C. Dinsmore

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


What looms next on the horizon of project management? Where is it all headed? Is there no end to the rampant scope creep assailing the field?  What will the profession eventually encompass?

The profession has been in constant mutation since the dawn of modern project management in the 1950s. From its most simplistic form of a single project like building a shelter from storms, to dealing with multiple and complex initiatives in ever-changing environments such as high-tech space exploration, project management broadened to a state of organizational entanglement that requires a rock-solid set of policies, structure, guidelines and procedures to herd along that the plethora of projects that often butt heads at stampede-like pace to meet desired goals. Here are some of the ways projects are handled in organizations:

    1. Laissez Faire (whatever will be, will be).  Projects are carried out as required using intuitive approaches or methodologies that vary from one project to another.  Nobody knows how many projects are underway in the company or the status of all the projects.
    2. Departmental (territorial). Each department or area develops methodology and practice appropriate for that department. No cross-fertilization exists with other departments.
    3. PMOs, Project Management Offices (one or several). Some companies have multiple PMOs, either at different levels or different regions. They are sometimes connected, yet often operate independently.
    4. Corporate Level PMO (top down oversight). Here, a chief project officer, or corporate project management office, or strategic project management office, cares for the implementation of strategic projects and for the overall project management practice in the company, including project portfolio management.
    5. Enterprise Project Governance (EPG). (all-encompassing organizational approach). EPG proposes a broad approach to the management of projects across an enterprise, involving all players, including board members, CEO, other C-level executives, portfolio managers, PMO managers and project managers.

So is Governance the Ultimate Level for Project Management?

EPG is a framework residing under the umbrella of top management and corporate governance aimed at ensuring the alignment of the corporate portfolio and its programs and projects with overall strategy, and that actions are pro-actively taken to confirm that everything stays on track to ultimately create value for the organization.


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How to cite this article: Dinsmore, P. C. (2019). In Search of Project Management Nirvana; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue II (February). Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/pmwj79-Feb2019-Dinsmore-in-search-of-project-management-nirvana.pdf

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared as a Viewpoints article in the December 2011 edition of PM Network magazine published by the Project Management Institute; it is republished here with permission of the author.


About the Author

Paul C. Dinsmore

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



 Paul C. Dinsmore is an international speaker, executive coach and consultant on project management and organizational issues. He has authored or co-authored 20 management books, and has written more than one hundred professional papers and articles. Mr. Dinsmore is Board President of DinsmoreCompass, a training and consulting group focused on consulting, outsourcing, training, coaching and IT support. Prior to establishing his consulting practice in 1985, he worked for twenty years as a project manager and executive in the construction and engineering industry.

Mr. Dinsmore has performed consulting and training services for major companies including IBM, ENI-Italy, Petrobrás, General Electric, Mercedes Benz, Shell, Morrison Knudsen, the World Trade Institute, Westinghouse, Ford, Caterpillar, and Alcoa. His speaking and consulting practice has taken him to Europe, South America, South Africa, Japan, China, and Australia. The range of projects where Mr. Dinsmore has provided consulting services include company reorganization, project start-up, and training programs, as well as advisory and coaching functions for the presidents of major organizations. He participates actively in the Project Management Institute, which awarded him its Distinguished Contributions Award as well as the prestigious title of Fellow of the Institute.

As Executive Coach, he has extensively coached Company Owners and C-level executives in the fields of Oil & Gas, Construction, Engineereing, Organizational Consulting as well as Health Care and Services.

Mr. Dinsmore graduated from Texas Tech University and completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He can be reached at [email protected], or [email protected].