The rise and fall of project management: are we observing the birth of a new discipline?

Michael Young
Raymond Young


This conceptual paper examines the state of the project, program and project portfolio management literature and highlights the divergent views of strategy that exist between project managers and top managers. Project management concepts are shown to be based on approaches to planning that top managers had rejected after thirty years of unsuccessful experience with strategic planning. Persistently high project failure rates and recent developments at the board level suggest that we might have reached the limits of our current approaches, and the question is asked whether project management is destined to follow the rise and fall of strategic planning.

Alternatives to the traditional linear mechanistic approaches are explored and it is suggested that the project management field would need to embrace the delivery of strategy as the common ground to engage top managers. Approaches would need to be developed that are consistent with how strategy emerges in turbulent environments. Program and portfolio concepts are found to have the most potential to contribute to the emerging field of strategy implementation.



Rethinking Project Management; New Project Management Approach; Top Management; Project Strategy

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