In Step with Projects

In Pace with Progress

Project Success Requires Suitable Ecological Environment


Author: Ding Ronggui     Translator: Yu Yanjuan     Source: PMR
The operation style and management value of enterprises need to adapt to the changes of the times. The development of Internet technology, social security system, etc. has had disruptive impacts on enterprises. If we fail to sense these impacts and respond to them with corresponding strategies, we will lose the development opportunities or even the survival ability. 

The future enterprises will be more flexible with fuzzy boundaries and flat organizational structure. The power factor that keeps traditional organizations is on the way to being replaced by the contract factor. In this context, the business sector or unit of an organization will be established and break up with the initiation and closure of a project. The enterprise initiating the project will attract resources based on contract rules to build stakeholder social network. As the project proceeds, some nodes in the social network will disappear while some new ones will stick to the network. Some enterprises will play the role of building the network while others act as nodes. By launching and ending projects, the enterprise itself turns into a dynamic project stakeholder ecosystem. 

To maintain an enterprise’s survival and thriving, we can’t rely on prediction about the future but on dynamic cooperation among stakeholders and continuous value creation. The competences of seizing project opportunities, building project stakeholder network and maintaining the effective operation of such a network will be the top three competitiveness of an enterprise. The formation, maintenance and dissolution of interactive relationships between people and projects, projects and enterprises, enterprises and social environment will the key to organizational project management. 

Since we are unable to predict the future reliably, it’s hard for enterprises to cultivate and reserve talents in advance. What we can do is to shorten the time-span of discovering talents, attracting talents and making effective game rules when the opportunities appear. In this case, the concept of human resources will be replaced by stakeholders. Behind the resources lie occupation and domination based on power. Power is up to the ability of commitment to future interests. However, in changing and turbulent environment, it’s hard for people to make long-lasting and reliable commitment, so the traditional concept of human resources will become stakeholders whose cooperation is based on interests. 

Stakeholders engage in projects out of choice; they think it’s better to invest energy and time on the chosen project than on other projects. “From different corners of the globe, we come together for our own purposes” is the precondition hypothesis of establishing project governance relationship. For enterprises in ever-changing environment, the subordinate relationship between the employer and employees will be replaced by dynamic contract relationship; organizational hierarchy based on power will turn into flat interactive and interdependent network structure; the traditional concept of “organization” will be replace by “community” or “project ecosystem”.

If the goal of team building is to boost project productivity, the core task of organizational project management is to build project production relations based on governance mechanism. The project production relation is similar to natural ecosystem. The wolf has been praised as the symbol of wisdom, teaming and enterprising spirit, but in the ecosystem, wolves are on the verge of extinction while spiders who are good at weaving webs have lived for at least 165 million years. In order to adapt to such an ecosystem, top executives should try to be a good weaver rather than a wolf king. As is said in Charlotte's Web, “Weave a web and wait in silence for something nice to happen.” 

Projects need to end as scheduled, but enterprises need to live longer. 

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