09 December 2019 | 9:00
Jiwat Ram

Year 2020 Pledges for PM progress: Proposed list of 10

Time-book will turn to page number 2020 in a couple of weeks’ time. This kick-start a seasonal trend of making pledges about how and what one will do to make things better or improve in the coming year(s). Project management (PM) is no exception to such needs to identify and make pledges for future progress. In fact, being a dynamic and evolving profession, it is good to consider the areas of improvements for PM progress and make pledges to work on those areas for further development of the profession as a whole.

With that in mind, below we propose a list of the Year 2020 pledges for PM progress to further work on the PM path of change. Needless to say, the list is neither exhaustive nor complete, but an attempt to highlight some of the key areas where improvements will help make the profession become stronger, resilient and aligned to the needs of evolving business eco-systems.

Pledges for PM progress for the year 2020

  1. Clean project management

Sustainable development is critical for the progress of economies, societies and humanities. The products/services that are environmentally friendly and contribute to low carbon footprint are central to efforts to create a sustainable world. PM plays a significant role in creation of new products and services and hence is a vital cog in the sustainability machine.

PM processes that help provide an understanding of the whole-lifecycle impact on the environment of: (1) the materials and components used in product/service creation, (2) the manufacturing process and (3) the maintenance needed over whole life-cycle could help development of products/services that have lower carbon impact on the environment. At the moment, the knowledge on Clean project management is still in its infancy, and not well integrated in work practices. Therefore, more work is needed to be done to develop bespoke PM processes which could help PM organizations integrate sustainable development in their creation processes which will ultimately help sustainable products/services development efforts.

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – PM standards development

It is no secret that AI is a reality and will have a significant disruptive effect on people, jobs and societies over a period of time. Every day, we come across developments that show various applications of AI in domains including (but not limited to) health, defence, education, and manufacturing of all sorts.

Project management helps all sectors of economic activities to undertake development and futuristic project tasks. Therefore, it is but necessary that AI-PM standards are developed so that PM organizations can use such standards when executing projects that involve the use of AI. The standard development should not only focus on processes that actually help create the products/services involving AI technology, but also PM processes that are needed to plan and execute the creation of products/services as well.

  1. A data-driven approach to PM

The collection, storage and use of a large amount of data for business and human development purposes warrant building knowledge on how project staff can take a data-driven approach to plan and execution of projects. The current knowledge base on using a data-driven approach to PM is at the early stages of development. PM must embrace the trend and for that to happen, more work is needed in the coming years to develop processes and methods to use a data-driven approach for the management of projects.

  1. The The quartet of the project core focus

The integration of agile and traditional PM is on cards to maximize the advantages of both for successful PM. There is a lot of talk about hybridizing and meshing-up PM approaches. That is reasonable as it is not easy for PM staff to remember and practice multiple techniques and methods efficiently, as there are too many things to remember.  Therefore, the focus needs to be placed on furthering the work on quartet of project core to simplify and hybridize agile and traditional PM.

  1. Pro-skills initiative 

Skills development remains the key area of focus for next years, as technologies and business processes are evolving at an astounding rate. PM staff need to have skills in the use of AI, Big data, Social media, Virtual reality etc for working on projects of 2020 and beyond. Therefore, launching a Pro-skills (professional skills) initiative aimed at providing cutting edge knowledge to PM staff is critical for the successful integration of new skills in PM.

The proposed initiative is expected to serve a number of purposes: (1) help bring focus to development of knowledge needed to gain pro-skills, (2) provide direction to training and education providers to integrate the required skills-set in their training programs, and (3) help certification bodies to align/create certification standards that recognize gaining of new Pro-skills set.

  1. ‘Born to be Project Manager’ initiative

Leadership is vital to the growth of PM like every other profession. Therefore, identifying and developing leaders is a must need for PM growth. PM also needs thought leaders to provide vision, direction and impetus to development efforts.

Therefore, launching a born to be project manager initiative will help identify and groom leaders to take on the reins of PM development and its future progress in 2020 and beyond.

  1. Talent diversity focus

PM is used in every sector of economy and human development processes. The application of PM knowledge seems boundary-less as such. The situation demands focusing on the integration of diverse knowledge and embracing talent diversity into PM fold for further development efforts. Therefore, a lot more work is needed to help integrate talent diversity in PM and efforts should be made for achieving such an objective in coming year.

  1. Industry-Academia PM nexus development

One of the areas that desperately need focus is the industry-academia nexus. The question is how much knowledge created by PM research is actually transferable for the immediate or potential use by industry and actual work purposes. Therefore, a closer nexus will help both industry and academia to leverage upon the competencies across both domains to help grow PM profession. Closing the gap between industry and academia is the need of the hour and both will be winners from industry-academia nexus development efforts pledge for 2020.

  1. Culture/Language diversity based PM research

Since PM knowledge is used across wide spectrum involving people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds, so integration of cultural and linguistic diversity into PM knowledge is another area that needs further research work. Currently, there is a limited knowledge on ‘how cultural and linguistic variations affect PM efficiencies?.’ Therefore, a pledge for 2020 is to build further knowledge on this key strand.

  1. Future of PM

The pledge list will be incomplete if we don’t consider the question ‘what will be the future of PM or how future PM should look like?’

With the increased efforts and interest on things like going and living on MARS, using technologies of all sorts for business and human development, inventing new ways of food supplies, dealing with sustainability issues and natural catastrophes such as earth quakes, tsunamis and other disasters; PM needs to play its role in undertaking work on futuristic trends. Therefore, we need to recognize and work on creating futuristic vision of PM and build thought leadership, so that PM can contribute effectively to future developments. It will also help put PM on its path of progress.

Concluding thoughts:
PM needs to evolve, there could be no two opinions on that. Therefore, we have provided a list of 10 pledges of progress for 2020. We hope that the list will serve as an avenue of reflection and guidance to start new efforts to help put PM on path of evolution and progress.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2020.

Authored by:

Professor Jiwat Ram

© 2019 Jiwat Ram, All Rights Reserved.

Written by
Jiwat Ram

Jiwat is a Professor in Project Management. He has considerable experience of working internationally in diverse cultures and business environments.

He has a growing portfolio of work on issues related to artificial intelligence, machine learning and large language models (LLMs). His work has been published in top scientific journals.

Jiwat actively contributes to project management community. More recently, he has published a number of articles on some of the contemporary issues confronting project management and business management in various industry based outlets.

Privacy settings

Decide which cookies you want to allow. You can change these settings at any time. However, this can result in some functions no longer being available. For information on deleting the cookies, please consult your browser’s help function.

This page will be:

  • Essential: Remember your cookie permission setting
  • Essential: Allow session cookies
  • Essential: Gather information you input into a contact forms, newsletter and other forms across all pages
  • Essential: Keep track of what you input in shopping cart
  • Essential: Authenticate that you are logged into your user account
  • Functionality: remember social media settings
  • Functionality: remember selected region and country

This page will not be:

  • Remember your login details
  • Analytics: Keep track of your visited pages and interaction taken
  • Analytics: Keep track about your location and region based on your IP number
  • Analytics: Keep track on the time spent on each page
  • Analytics: increase the data quality of the statistics functions
  • Advertising: tailor information and advertising to your interests based on e.g. the content you have visited before. (Currently we do not use targeting or targeting cookies.)

This page will be:

  • Essential: Remember your cookie permission setting
  • Essential: Allow session cookies
  • Essential: Gather information you input into a contact forms, newsletter and other forms across all pages
  • Essential: Keep track of what you input in shopping cart
  • Essential: Authenticate that you are logged into your user account
  • Functionality: remember social media settings
  • Functionality: remember selected region and country
  • Analytics: Keep track of your visited pages and interaction taken
  • Analytics: Keep track about your location and region based on your IP number
  • Analytics: Keep track on the time spent on each page
  • Analytics: increase the data quality of the statistics functions

This page will not be:

  • Remember your login details
  • Advertising: Allow you to connect to social sites
  • Advertising: Identify device you are using

This page will be:

  • Essential: Remember your cookie permission setting
  • Essential: Allow session cookies
  • Essential: Gather information you input into a contact forms, newsletter and other forms across all pages
  • Essential: Keep track of what you input in shopping cart
  • Essential: Authenticate that you are logged into your user account
  • Functionality: remember social media settings
  • Functionality: remember selected region and country
  • Analytics: Keep track of your visited pages and interaction taken
  • Analytics: Keep track about your location and region based on your IP number
  • Analytics: Keep track on the time spent on each page
  • Analytics: increase the data quality of the statistics functions
  • Advertising: Allow you to connect to social sites
  • Advertising: Identify device you are using

This page will not be:

  • Remember your login details
Save
Cookies To make this site work properly, we sometimes place small data files called cookies on your device. Most big websites do this too.
Read more