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Managing Technology-Based Projects: Tools, Techniques, People and Business Processes by Hans J. Thamhain

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Chapter 20

The Future of Project Management

20.1 IS THE FUTURE PREDICTABLE?

Predicting the future is difficult and risky. History is full of sociopolitical, economic, and technological happenings, from the Industrial Revolution to the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union and the invention of the transistor as the precursor of the digital age. None of these events were predicted decades ahead of time. Similar examples can be given for project management. Who predicted the evolution of management approaches like agile, Stage-Gate®, virtual teams, extreme project management or Internet-supported dashboard controls, and their impact on the practice of project management in the 1980s? That is only 30 years ago, a very short time period in comparison to 4,000 years of project management practice. Yet despite the difficulties of predicting the future, some people seem to be less surprised and better prepared to deal with changes in the business environment when they occur. These are the leaders who understand their current environment, trends, and forces that shape the future. Nobody has the proverbial crystal ball to predict the future. However, I strongly believe that understanding historic developments, current dynamics, trends, and forces in the business environment are the best predictors of upcoming changes and preparation for the future.

20.2 CHANGES AND TRENDS IN THE PROJECT ENVIRONMENT

Just 50 years ago, project management emerged as a formal discipline, impacting virtually every ...

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