Future PM Trends



by Yu Yanjuan

Journalist, Project Management Review: PMR (China)

Beijing, China



At the end of 2018, this PM Review magazine (http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/) journalist interviewed more than 20 top experts across the globe to collect their opinions about future PM trends. Based on the results, we summarized their observations into 17 trends.

Trend 1: Redefinition of Project Success

In VUCA era, projects are characterized by Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Therefore, it is necessary to redefine the criterion of project success. Doctor Harold Kerzner pointed out that we will not merely rely on scope, time and cost to measure project success and that business value creation will be an essential criterion. Professor Wang Xiaojin said, “Faced with rapidly-changing technology and markets, projects, as the means for organizations to embrace changes, will play an increasingly important role. Therefore, measuring project success should focus on the extent to which projects have achieved expected changes for organizations and on the business value created by the changes. When talking about the definition of projects, PMBOK Guide (6th edition) added ‘driving change’ and ‘creating business value’, which aims to remind us not to forget the original reason of doing projects. It’s unreasonable to do projects only for doing projects.” Professor Ou Lixiong emphasized that project success should not merely be measured in terms of delivering the deliverable within agreed framework but in terms of the satisfaction of key stakeholders. Professor Ding Ronggui emphasized that in terms of the criterion of project success we should learn from Eastern philosophy: more synthesis, less decomposition.

Trend 2: From Agile Tools to Agile Mindset

The application of Agile is getting more and more common. It is reported that 75% companies in Netherlands and Belgium adopt agile methods, but many ended up in failure. Relevant surveys show that the most common reason is that corporate philosophy and culture cannot adapt to agile practice. Reinhard Wagner, Chairman of the IPMA Council of Delegates, said, “Agile is an ongoing trend, but the focus should shift from agile methods and tools to agile leadership, mindsets and cultures. Application of agile methods and tools will fail if the embedding organization is not ready for it. Agile projects require the leaders to give more space to maneuver to project teams, to let them self-organize, to enable creativity and innovation. The top-down mentality will disappear over time, otherwise agile project management is a farce.” To embrace this trend, IPMA has initiated Agile Leadership Certification.

Trend 3: From Responding to Change to Embracing Change

In VUCA era, change is constant and inevitable. Since change also means new possible projects and opportunities, project management and change management should go hand in hand. In our interview, it is agreed among experts that we should change our attitude towards change, which means making good use of disruptive technologies to identify opportunities in the course of change rather than passively responding to changes. Professor Ou Lixiong explains, “In light of the VUCA era ushering in an era of change, it also means the opening of doors to a world of new possibilities and opportunities. This also means that the study of ‘how to manage opportunities’ would be an area that is worth researching. Also we previously used to emphasize on ‘responding to change’, however, now we should put emphasis on ‘embracing change’. Previously when encountering changes, we may wonder if there are problems but now faced with changes we should try to identify opportunities. Therefore, for project managers the attitude towards changes needs changing.”

Matti Ahvenharju, former IPMA Vice President, has proposed the concept of Management of Opportunities by Projects (MoP), which I believe will have more room for application in the future.


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Editor’s note: This article was first published in PMR, Project Management Review magazine, China.  It is republished here with the permission of PMR. The PM World Journal maintains a cooperative relationship with PMR, periodically republishing works from each other’s publications. To learn more about PMR, visit http://www.pmreview.com.cn/english/

How to cite this article: Yanjuan, Y. (2019). Future PM Trends; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Yanjuan-future-pm-trends.pdf



About the Author

Yu Yanjuan

Beijing, China




Yu Yanjuan (English name: Spring), Bachelor’s Degree, graduated from the English Department of Beijing International Studies University (BISU) in China. She is now an English-language journalist and editor working for Project Management Review Magazine and website. She has interviewed over forty top experts in the field of project management. In the past, she has worked as a journalist and editor for other media platforms in China. She has also worked part-time as an English teacher in various training centers in Beijing. For work contact, she can be

reached via email yuyanjuan2005@163.com  or LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanjuanyu-76b280151/.