Deceit in project management - are we deluding ourselves about what it is?

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As evidenced by the taming of fire, invention of stone then metal tools, up through the Pyramids of Giza through to todays Burj Khalifa and plans to send men and women to Mars, project management has been an inherent part of mankinds evolution.

One could argue that the propensity to initiate, plan, execute, control and close projects is somehow hardwired into the human psyche that if we dont have projects to keep us occupied, we invent them.

Formalised project management, where project management has been recognised as a job title rather than a set of processes, has been around since around the end of World War Two. Prior to that, project management was considered to be an integral part of any profession or trade. So is there any evidence that in the past 50 or so years projects are being run any more successfully?

Wouldnt it seem reasonable that in 50 years time, and with literally hundreds of thousands of project management certifications globally, that if what these not-for-profit professional organisations were advocating was working we should be seeing some measurable improvement in the delivery of projects? Something is radically wrong, and if we look to the teachings of Drucker (1976) and more recently Mintzberg (2009) who are telling us that management is management is management, there is no difference between project management and any of the other applications or contexts of management.

Consider this: when you add together asset, portfolio, programme and project management, havent we come full circle back to general management, just as Drucker and Mintzberg told us?


Posted by Dr. Paul Giammalvo on 27th May 2014

About the Author
Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo is Senior Technical Advisor (Project Management) to PT Mitratata Citragraha. (PTMC), Jakarta, Indonesia. He is noted for the development and presentation of graduate level, blended learning curricula designed to develop competency in the local practitioner and build capacity for the local organizations. For 20+ years, he has been developing and delivering project management training and consulting throughout South and Eastern Asia, the Middle East, West Africa and Europe. He is also active in the global project management community, playing an active leadership role in the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International, The Green Project Management Association (GPM), the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management and Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards. He is also active as a regional leader in the International Guild of Project Controls. He has spent 18 of the last 40 years working on large, highly technical international projects. His current client list includes Fortune 500 major telecommunications, oil, gas and mining companies plus the UN Projects Office and many other multi-national companies, NGO organizations and Indonesian Government Agencies.

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