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This paper examines the role of the discipline of project management in today’s global economy. After a brief introduction, it presents the role of project management in today’s professional environment and its importance in modern organizations. It later briefly covers the links to this field with organizational strategy, structure, and project management frameworks & developmental processes before the conclusion.
Role of Project Management in Today’s Professional Environment
Karakas and Kavas (2008) noted that global uncertainty and chaos and the complexity created by the drastic changes affect the professional environment. Furthermore, technological innovation, globalization, and an elevated level of competition are significant factors shaping the modern professional landscape, emphasizing the need for learning, new ways of thinking, and organizational development. This argument is more relevant in the post-COVID-19 scenario.
The new ways of working are the demand of today’s professional environment, and Technological innovations like artificial intelligence, cloud-based fortes, and new business models enforce this demand (PMBOK). Therefore, project management is considered a strategic imperative for organizations, according to Gary & Larson (2011), and the tools it affords result in improved planning ability, implementation, and management of activities to achieve specific objectives of an organization. However, they cautioned not to treat project management as a mere set of tools but as a results-oriented management style, which ensures creating cooperation in collective efforts of many factors and characters associated with the completion of the project. Du Preez (2007) considers these tools and practices vital for all IT projects. The tools it affords result in improved planning ability, implementation, and management of activities to achieve an organization’s specific objectives. This leads to the examination of the role of project management in modern organizations.
Project Management & Organizational Strategy
In an organizational setting, a project is a set of activities toward creating a unique product or service. This set of activities includes tasks, work schedule, allocated staff, technology, and budget to deliver the product or service within time (Project Management Institute, 2021). Projects are the set of activities that help a company to generate revenue from their clients. On the other side, programs refer to related projects, subsidiary programs, and program activities to generate benefits from an organizational perspective (Project Management Institute, 2021). These programs help a company gain financial and non-financial benefits; in addition, they also develop an impressive portfolio for the company.
Portfolio refers to the collection of projects and programs undertaken by the company. In other words, a portfolio is a document that consists of all the projects, operational work, and programs that have been managed by the organization for its client. Having a good portfolio attracts new clients to the organization (Schwalbe, 2012). For example, Accenture has implemented the project Cloud Computing 7, and including it into the company’s portfolio will attract e-commerce and banking companies as their operations are mostly in cloud computing (Vikrant et al. 2020).
An organization’s strategic plan includes a list of actions that should be implemented to achieve revenue for the company. Moreover, the strategic plan should be implemented in such a way so that it does not impact the environment, society, and business regulatory frameworks. Companies undertake projects to create new products and services, which ensure revenue for the firm (Al-Husseini & Obaid, 2020). At the same time, programs such as CSR (Client Services Rep) and community service prevent the company from decreasing environmental impact and societal impact due to the project. Similarly, having a good portfolio attracts new clients, which again ensures more revenue for the firm from across the globe.
A company’s direction also depends on the projects and programs they have undertaken. For example, if a company only takes on IT (Information Technology) projects, it will operate in the IT sector. Similarly, taking programs to make the operation environment friendly will lead the company towards sustainability (Lozano, 2018). Having such a portfolio will also develop the reputation and brand image of the organization accordingly. For example, if a company’s portfolio consists of a program where that uses 100% green energy, then the company will develop a sustainable brand image for the global economy.
Importance of Project Management in Modern Organizations
20th-century management has become ineffective in the 21st century because of four major causes; the fast pace of change, enormous technological leaps, the ascendancy of knowledge work, and the power shift from firms to customers in the market (Denning, 2020). The world spends a quarter of its GDP on projects; therefore, as we establish the importance of project management tools and knowledge work, there are ten knowledge areas in which this discipline assists the project managers and their respective teams’ work (Schwalbe, 2012), which is described in Figure – 1.
Figure – 1 Project Management Framework (Source: Schwalbe, 2012)
Schwalbe (2012) has described stakeholders as any person or entity affected by an organization. Moreover, project management may pertain to any area or department in an organization, such as operations, marketing, or human resources; the IT projects are divided into three fundamental portfolios: core, growth, and ventures (Figure – 2).
Figure – 2 Fundamental Portfolios of IT Projects (Source: Schwalbe, 2012)
It is established in the discussion above, that today information technology is an imperative for modern organizations, therefore the core IT projects are the ones that are necessary for the survival of the business.
Project Management & Organizational Structure
Through the course of a project, organizational elements include coordination, communication, and management. Using project organization reduces barriers, maximizes resources, and establishes clear communication and roles.
According to Eby, K. (2022), organizing your projects can help you prioritize and allocate resources effectively while keeping in mind that multiple stakeholders will be involved. The “multiple destination trap,” in which employees are uncertain of their destination, is easy to fall into if project structure and strategy are not fundamental components of a project. Consequently, team members’ expectations differ, causing them to avoid risks and spin in circles. Well-executed project management helps create a “one destination” solution, in which everyone knows where their contribution ultimately adds value to the enterprise.
One way to connect strategy and vision is to create and display a project management organizational structure. Establishing an organizational structure before a project starts can avoid interruptions, overlaps, disputes, ambiguity, and misunderstandings.
Types of Project Organizational Structures
“An organizational structure can be functional, matrix, or projectized in project management” Eby, K. (2022). Each project structure framework is determined by the roles, responsibilities, and authority of the members of a team within the current organizational structure.
Each project is unique, so no two organizational structures will be alike. Every project has its own organizational structure, and the job of the project manager varies within these frameworks. Developing a successful plan requires an understanding of the vertical or horizontal coordination of each framework and the role of the project manager.
Project Management Frameworks & Developmental Process
A project management framework comprises the processes, actions, and tools required to see a project through from inception to delivery. It has all the necessary components for project planning, management, and administration. Whereas a project life cycle is a collection of phases that are normally sequential but may overlap (Scavetta, 2022). The management determines the name and number of phases based on the requirements of the participating organization, the nature of the project, and its application area.
A project management framework outlines the procedures, processes, activities, resources, and tools required to complete the project. It is often composed of three components: project lifecycle, project control cycle, and tools and templates (Scavetta, 2022). Project lifecycle typically includes project initiation, planning, execution, controlling and monitoring and closure, as defined according to PMBOK guidelines. They are the core components of the project management frame