Project Management Pain Points and a Path Forward



By Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow,
Global Future of Work Executive,


Dr. Harold Kerzner
Senior Executive Director for Project Management,

The International Institute for Learning (IIL)


This paper highlights an integrated review of the pain points that have shaped project management to-date and how these pain points created the foundation for the path forward for this profession and the suite of related strategy execution skills.   This path forward towards the next decade and beyond will see a continual disruption of the project management principles.  Those disruptions are bound to be highly impactful in creating the proper strategic value for project management.


All too often, business leaders embrace the world of project management and are usually impressed with what they see and hear, especially in the benefits that project management can bring to a company along with possibly a sustainable competitive advantage. But what most people do not see or hear are the pain points that companies had to endure and overcome to achieve their current level of project management maturity and excellence.

Project management pain points began to surface in the latter half of 1940s, when the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) invested heavily in the number of projects given out to aerospace and defense contractors following World War II. DoD was the pioneer in developing many of the processes, tools, and techniques that became the foundation elements for today’s project management approaches. Project management was also used in the construction industry, although DoD was seen as the primary creator of project management practices.

For many of DoD’s contractors, projects brought new types of pain points. Even with the founding of the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 1969, and their publication of PMBOK® Guide over the years, many pain points persisted. And as new approaches to the processes, tools and techniques to project management appeared, new types of pain points emerged, and these needed to be resolved and mitigated as well.

In this paper, we will discuss key project management pain points most commonly faced by project community today, and approaches to tackling them. We will also focus on what we believe are emerging pain points of the 21st century and the new multidisciplinary approach for a successful path forward…


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Zeitoun, A. and Kerzner, H. (2021). Project Management Pain Points and a Path Forward; PM World Journal, Vol. X, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pmwj110-Oct2021-Zeitoun-Kerzner-project-management-pain-points-and-path-forward.pdf

About the Authors

Dr. Al Zeitoun, PgMP, PMI Fellow

Global Future of Work Executive
International Institute of Learning
New York & Maryland USA


Dr. Al Zeitoun is a Future of Work, business optimization, and operational performance excellence thought leader with global experiences in strategy execution. His experiences encompass leading organizations; delivering their Enterprise Digital and Business Transformation; guiding fitting frameworks implementations; and using his empathy, engineering insights, and collaboration strengths to successfully envision new business models and execute complex missions across diverse cultures globally.

In his position, as the Executive Director for Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Abu Dhabi, UAE, he was responsible for creating the strategy execution framework, achieving transformation benefits, governance excellence, and creating the data analytics discipline necessary for delivering on the $40B complex country energy mission roadmap.

At the McLean, USA HQ of Booz Allen Hamilton, Dr. Zeitoun strategically envisioned and customized digitally enabled EPMO advisory, mapped playbooks, and capability development for clients’ Billions of Dollars strategic initiatives. Furthermore, he led the firm’s Middle East North Africa Portfolio Management and Agile Governance Solutions.

With the International Institute of Learning, Dr. Zeitoun plays a senior leader and global trainer and coach. He was instrumental in driving its global expansions, thought leadership, and operational excellence methodology to sense and shape dynamic ways of working across organizations worldwide. He speaks English, Arabic, and German and enjoys good food, travel, and volunteering. Dr. Al Zeitoun can be contacted at  zeitounstrategy@gmail.com


Harold Kerzner, Ph.D., MS, M.B.A

Senior Executive Director for Project Management
International Institute of Learning
New York & Florida, USA


 Dr. Harold Kerzner is Senior Executive Director for Project Management for the International Institute for Learning (IIL). He has an MS and Ph.D. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Illinois and an MBA from Utah State University. He is a prior Air Force Officer and spent several years at Morton-Thiokol in project management. He taught engineering at the University of Illinois and business administration at Utah State University, and for 38 years taught project management at Baldwin-Wallace University. He has published or presented numerous engineering and business papers and has had published more than 60 college textbooks/workbooks on project management, including later editions. Some of his books are (1) Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling; (2) Project Management Metrics, KPIs and Dashboards, (3) Project Management Case Studies, (4) Project Management Best Practices: Achieving Global Excellence, (5) PM 2.0: The Future of Project Management, (6) Using the Project Management Maturity Model, and (7) Innovation Project Management.

He is a charter member of the Northeast Ohio PMI Chapter.

Dr. Kerzner has traveled around the world conducting project management lectures for PMI Chapters and companies in Japan, China, Russia, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Croatia, Mexico, Trinidad, Barbados, The Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Venezuela, Columbia, United Arab Emirates, France, Italy, England, and Switzerland. He delivered a keynote speech at a PMI Global Congress on the future of project management.

His recognitions include:

  • The University of Illinois granted Dr. Kerzner a Distinguished Recent Alumni Award in 1981 for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • Utah State University provided Dr. Kerzner with the 1998 Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the field of project management.
  • The Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Project Management Institute gives out the Kerzner Award once a year to one project manager in Northeast Ohio that has demonstrated excellence in project management. They also give out a second Kerzner Award for project of the year in Northeast Ohio.
  • The Project Management Institute (National Organization) in cooperation with IIL has initiated the Kerzner International Project Manager of the Year Award given to one project manager yearly anywhere in the world that demonstrated excellence in project management.
  • The Project Management Institute also gives out four scholarships each year in Dr. Kerzner’s name for graduate studies in project management.
  • Baldwin-Wallace University has instituted the Kerzner Distinguished Lecturer Series in project management.
  • The Italian Institute of Project Management presented Dr. Kerzner with the 2019 International ISIPM Award for his contributions to the field of project management.

Dr. Harold Kerzner can be contacted at hkerzner@hotmail.com