Projects in Contemporary Organizations

The past several decades have been marked by rapid growth in the use of project management as a means by which organizations achieve their objectives. In the past, most projects were external to the organization—building a new skyscraper, designing a commercial ad campaign, launching a rocket—but the growth in the use of projects lately has primarily been in the area of projects internal to organizations: developing a new product, opening a new branch, improving the services provided to customers, and achieving strategic objectives. As exhilarating as outside projects are, successfully executing internal projects is even more satisfying in that the organization has substantially improved its ability to execute more efficiently, effectively, or quickly, resulting in an agency or business that can even better contribute to society while simultaneously enhancing its own competitive strength. Project management provides an organization with powerful tools that improve its ability to plan, implement, and control its activities as well as the ways in which it utilizes its people and resources.

It is popular to ask, “Why can't they run government the way I run my business?” In the case of project management, however, business and other organizations learned from government, not the other way around. A lion's share of the credit for the development of the techniques and practices of project management belongs to the military, which faced ...

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