The Subject of Project was born in 1995 to the call of times. As the peer of “Gen-Z”, it always stands in the frontier of our times and shapes the world we live in. Young, dynamic and vigorous, the subject is ever changing. It’s a subject not only about “things” but also about “people”....
Project Management Era Featured by VUCA
Author: Ding Ronggui Translator: Yu Yanjuan (Spring)
Our knowledge about the objective world changes with circumstances. Drucker wrote “Concept of the Corporation” in 1946, which is referred to as the first book in contemporary management. But classics need to be redefined as major conflicts faced by corporations have changed enormously over the past decades.
From the newly published sixth edition of PMBOK? guide, Talent Triangle, ICB 4.0 and Excellence Award assessment criteria from IPMA, we can see that people are thinking about new challenges faced by projects and project management in the new era. China is a country with the most active project practices, ranging from PPP to “One Belt, One Road” initiative, from high-speed railway to sharing bicycles, from super computers to quantum technology. All those project practices have gone far ahead of theories. In “On Practice”, Chairman Mao said, “Practice, knowledge, again practice, and again knowledge. This form repeats itself in endless cycles and with each cycle, the content of practice and knowledge rises to a higher level. ” Perceptual knowledge from project practices is incomplete. If we fail to turn perceptual knowledge into systematic rational knowledge, the project experience will become flashing meteors and sustainable development will not be guaranteed.
The value of projects and project management is emphasized because of the key word “change”. However, the word “change” isn’t sufficient to represent the characteristics of the era we are now in. VUCA, abbreviation for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, has been commonly used to summarize the new normal of project environment. If we tend to change the world with the theory of knowledge based on operation in relatively stable times, what about the new era featured by VUCA? Do we need to redefine projects, project success and project management?
Project theories without practices as the basis are empty. Similarly, project practices without theories as the guide are blind and less efficient. If we can’t form project theory of knowledge to help with practices and establish new theory systems based on practices in the era featured by VUCA, projects and project management will meet the dilemma faced by the subject of management: turning into colonies of economics, maths or psychology in theory. As a result, theory and practice will drift apart gradually.
Let’s combine theory and practice.