Future of Project Management Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1141 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

Future of Project Management

In many respects the evolution of project management parallels the development and continual validation of leadership theories, often corresponding to comparable timeframes. In the analysis presented in the Current State of Project Management Research: Trends, Interpretations, and Predictions (Kioppenborg, Opfer, 2002) the author has completed a meta analysis of the progression of product management as a discipline through several generations of thought leadership and research. This analysis will evaluate why the scholarly focus of study has shown the shift from a systems perspective to a leadership and organizational behavior one (Kioppenborg, Opfer, 2002). There has also been continual debate of whether project management is a social science or not, and if so if it bounded by the general theory of project management, the problem-driven or central paradigm perspective (Shenhar, Dvir, 2007). This analysis will evaluate these factors and define which paradigm fits best for project management in the context of social science.

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Having progressed from primarily an aerospace and defense-related beginning where project management was used for orchestrating manufacturing operations, the field of project management has rapidly progressed from its systems perspective to one that is more leadership-based (Kioppenborg, Opfer, 2002). The systems-dominant thinking that pervades project management can also be attributed to the prevailing operations research and operations management strategies that were so pervasive during the 1960s and 1970s including Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) and the Critical Path Method (CPM) (Wechsler, Clinton, 2006). Both of these techniques began to gain significant momentum and adoption during the 1950s and 1960s as aerospace spending continued to be a major factor in the American national budget. The focus on aerospace and defense superiority drove widespread adoption of CPM and PERT echniques, further solidifying the leadership position of the systems perspective of project management (Kioppenborg, Opfer, 2002) / the systems perspective was also supported by the nascent efforts on the part of organizations to create global development and distribution networks (Wechsler, Clinton, 2006). This was a critical area of growth post-Cold War globally as companies began to evaluate how to gain the benefits of intellectual property throughout Eastern European and Asian nations. The continued growth of the systems perspective was also accelerated by the invention of advanced computer programming techniques that could automate these advanced networks relatively quickly, and across a very range of processes, procedures, systems and strategies. All of these factors combined to create a solid foundation for the future growth of systems perspective well into the 1970s as companies strove to be more efficient and cost-competitive relative to each other using computer-generated CPM, PERT and associated linear programming and operations research programs. The limits of efficiency and process performance within the systems perspective began to be shown in the late 1970s as the limits of optimization through linear programming and advanced techniques including Monte Carlo simulations illustrated computed optimal project performance. What these programs and initiatives lacked was the unquantifiable aspect of leadership's effect on the synchronization of complex factors comprising a project. This was exacerbated by the lack of coordination in systems-centric projects across vast global distances and unique and significantly different cultures (Gundersen, Hellesoy, Raeder, 2012).

The advent of the leadership- and organizational behavior-driven perspective of project management began as the limits of the system perspective began to be seen. There was only so much optimization that could be pulled out of a project… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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