Welcome to the June 2017 PMWJ

Five Disruptive Trends affecting Projects and Project Management, maybe more – and Welcome to the June 2017 PMWJ

David L. Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the June 2017 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ). This 59th edition contains 35 original articles, papers and other works by 44 different authors in 19 different countries. News articles about projects and project management around the world are also included. We are proud of the range and diversity of works and authors published in this journal each month. Since the primary mission of the PMWJ is to support the global sharing of knowledge, please share this month’s edition with others, wherever in the world they may be.

Since last August, on the recommendation of several editorial advisors, I have used this space to mention significant trends or issues that I see as journal editor. This month I want to mention five such trends, in the context of a panel I will be moderating at the 11th annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August. The theme for this year’s conference being held on the UTD campus in Richardson, Texas during 17-19 August is “Disruptive Leadership”. The panel discussion that I will moderate is titled “Disruptive Trends affecting Project Management”. I thought it might be interesting to discuss these trends here this month.

Disruptive Trends

According to Collins online dictionary, “disruptive” means to prevent something from continuing or operating in a normal way. [1] According to Wikipedia, A “disruptive innovation” is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances. [2] According to the online Cambridge English Dictionary, a “trend” is a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are behaving. [3] I think most definitions of these terms will be consistent, regardless of the source. A disruptive trend then might be defined as a general change in the way people or things normally operate.

How does this relate to or matter to project management, or projects for that matter? The answer should be obvious to most. Disruptive trends or changes can affect the conditions, environment and context of most projects. A disruptive change might mean that the product of a project will be obsolete or less useful to customers. It might mean a major new risk or opportunity for an organization. It might mean that new information, training, tools or technologies will be needed. Trends can affect individual projects, project managers, teams, stakeholders and organizations, or even entire markets, industries and professions. I believe it is critical that we as professionals monitor trends affecting our work and our profession. And awareness of disruptive trends is absolutely required if we are to survive.

The Five Trends

Based on Google searches on “disruptive trends”, there seems to be no shortages of opinions regarding trends in technology, various industries and at various times. New ones are announced each year by big consultancies, publications, media outlets and others. The environment for projects of all kinds keeps changing, with regards to technologies, markets, economies and especially the organizational context. Some environmental changes and trends seem more disruptive than others, seem to be disrupting the project environment, the application of traditional and proven project management processes, and even the project management field itself. Here are the five trends that were selected to discuss in the August panel. In each case, some questions are posed. Each topic deserves more attention, in my opinion.

Agility – The popularity of Agile project management, which has been growing now for about 15 years, has stimulated a distinct move towards more “agile” management decision-making at all levels. Agile project management brought distinct advantages to software development projects. The idea of achieving incremental benefits/value rather than waiting for the traditional project planning, design and build cycle to play out has appealed to managers in many organizations, not just in software or information technologies. Executives and customers want results faster and faster. Is this a good idea? Does “Agile Project Management” itself need to evolve? Do traditional project change control processes need to change? Are there industry-specific variations, risks and opportunities related to agility that need to be explored and defined? Have you seen these issues emerge? I certainly have.


To read entire paper, click here



About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL



David L. Pells
is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.net) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (www.pmworldlibrary.net). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and international programs, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national nuclear security program.

David Pells has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice. He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world. David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); and Russian Project Management Association. Since 2010 he is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (since 2012). David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA. He has published widely and spoken at conferences and events worldwide. David lives near Dallas, Texas and can be contacted at [email protected]

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/