The Better Work Project: The Future of Project Management

02 December

How is project management impacted by the changing way we work and what will it look like in the future?

When we think about projects, we typically think about the iron triangle - time, budget, and scope, but what about customer value? In this podcast, we are joined by business advisor, author, and speaker, Iain Fraser to discuss the future of project management.


  • Only 19% of organisations deliver successful projects according to research by the International Project Management Association.
  • 13% of overall investment is getting wasted as a consequence of project failure.
  • Projects often have considerable amounts of inherent risks and complexity so there will always be failures.
  • 64% of features that are built are never used. Waste is a key factor and that delays value.
  • One of the key factors is the lack of executive involvement and executive alignment.
  • We need for people to get comfortable with failure to learn from it and adapt midstream.
  • More organisations are now using agile approaches in terms of ICT projects.
  • There is an opportunity to be nimble and adaptive within any organisation, irrespective of what sector they may work within.
  • We need to simplify our businesses in terms of making it easier to pivot, to change, to work through issues that project teams, program teams, and other teams may be facing. The other aspect in terms of simplification is to focus on purpose, people and performance.
  • The lean methodology has been around for a long time now and has taught us how to add speed and reduce waste.
  • A mindset shift is needed from thinking big and delivering big to still thinking big, but acting quickly and then learning through fast feedback loops.
  • A lot of agile programs are still delivered in what we call agile waterscrumfall, which effectively means that the requirements are often done in a non-agile manner and the operational side is done in an agile manner.
  • We often spend too much time making something good when we don't know if it's going to be something that's needed, or wanted, or add value.
  • The project manager is going to be accountable for the outcomes of the project but they're there to really facilitate those outcomes rather than direct them, so this is a big shift.
  • In the context of building a service or a product, it makes  sense to have long lived teams.
  • Organisations are now starting to restructure their businesses around customer services, which made it be represented by products.
  • Two of the biggest issues that cause PMOs to fail include process and the capabilities being mismatched with what the actual organisation needs.
  • PMOs have gained somewhat of a bad name through heavy governance and process. Part of the role is to provide transparency but possibly too much focus has been on enforcing standards instead of fulfilling an enablement role.
  • People in the project program and portfolio management profession should be focusing on growing their leadership skills and business acumen to operate in a VUCA world.

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