Distinguishing Features of Project Management in the 21st Century

The purpose of this article is to investigate the current hot topics of project management PMP certification . In the 21st century, there is a clear swift from hard systems approach of project management to soft factors, a demand for strategic thinking in project management (Buttrick, 2000), new success factors (Atkinson, 1999) and project uncertainty management (Ward & Chapman, 2003). Broader project management theory and more intense research efforts are also a trend in the field (Winter & Smith, 2005).

Human beings have been executing projects from ancient times Kwak, 2003. From relocating a tribe to constructing enormous buildings such as the pyramids, projects were a dominant element of history. Not long ago, those involved in projects understood that they needed methods and processes to help them manage these projects more efficiently. To meet this need, scientists and practitioners worked together to form a new concept which was called project management.

Since then, there have been a lot of changes. “The hard systems approach, which treated the project as a mechanical activity, has been shown to be flawed”Maylor, 2005. The soft skills of project management are getting more attention because it is now clear that “the ability to apply these skills effectively throughout the life cycle of a project will enhance the success of a project exponentially” (Belzer). In spite of the perfect understanding of planning, scheduling and controlling, projects have still a high rate of failure

In addition, project management requires a stronger strategy orientation. “More than 80 per cent of all problems at the project level are caused by failures at a board level in firms to provide clear policy and priorities” (Maylor, 2001). The approach that Maylor suggests is very different from the traditional link between strategy and projects, as he proposes a “coherent, co-ordinated, focused, strategic competence in project management which eventually provides source of competitive advantage.

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