Some potential current and future-related topics


for project management to consider

addressing in more detail



By Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon)

Sydney, Australia


This article discusses some current and future-related topics in project management (PM) which I believe are fundamentally important to its future, and which therefore appear to me to merit further attention by those who are best placed to further develop them. The latter could include very many in the PM professional and academic research communities around the world, who are the intended audience for this article.

However, in putting this article together, I have used some recent Thought Leadership and Content Creation initiatives by the Project Management Institute (PMI) as background for developing certain of the following potential topics. This was mainly because the materials from one of their reports in particular provided an exellent launching pad for the some of the following discussions.

So, whilst references to these PMI reports may appear to dominate, particularly initially, I want to emphasise that the intent in developing these potential topics is to address the project management world at large, as well as those involved with the PMI reports. Indeed, it is quite likely that some of the following “potential topics” may already be “in the works” of some PM representative or academic/research bodies. (In my late 90s, I am somewhat constrained in trying to keep up to date with all that is going on in project management – at least, that’s my excuse).

As indicated, my starting point for these discussions is PMI’s Thought Leadership and Content Creation initiative, and one of its key reports to date – to which we now turn.


The Project Management Institute (PMI) has published a series of reports as part of its new strategy on Thought Leadership and Content Creation. Eleven of these reports, from June 2022 to July 2023, are listed as Featured Insights from PMI’s Thought Leadership (PMI 2023A) in the References in this article. One of the more recent reports is entitled “Building Resilience through Strategic Risk Management”, which is referenced separately as PMI 2023B. This latter report will be my starting point for developing the following thoughts, which include tentative suggestions about topics which PMI and/or others may wish to consider in preparing PM for an uncertain future.


The primary focus of this report is on organisational strategic risk management

The primary focus of this report is on organisational strategy, and its risk management component. Essentially, it emphasises that the organisation first needs to get its overall organisational strategic risk management “right”, in order to “strengthen organisational resilience and ensure long-term growth”.

This report includes many guidelines to help achieve these objectives, most notably under the following headings.

  • Mitigating risk in 2023: Trends to watch
  • The opportunity side of strategic risk management
  • Case study: The ROI of mitigating risk
  • How AI tools can sharpen risk management
  • Risk reboot: Mitigating risk with technology
  • It’s time to forge a strong risk culture

Project risk management must then align with the organisation’s risk strategies

It follows that the organisation’s project risk management activities must then align with the organisational risk management strategy, to facilitate the achievement of its longer-term organisational objectives. As the Strategic Risk Management report puts it:

Armed with a clear understanding of how the company’s risk appetite aligns with its strategic vision, project managers can weave the right risk mindset into the fabric of their team’s way of working. Rather than looking at risks within the narrow view of the project alone, they can bring a broader view by looking at the project within the context of the entire organisation’s needs and objectives.

This can be seen as a prime example of the influence, and importance, of the project’s organisational context for the effective management of its projects.

This report highlights the importance of the project’s organisational context

At a more generalised level, it may seem all too obvious that the management of various components of an organisation’s projects should align with the broader strategic intent of the organisation. The logic of doing so in the context of the risk management component is clearly spelt out in the above quotation. Yet, the importance of broader project alignments with corresponding elements in the organisational context receives all too little attention in the project management literature, which remains predominately inwards-looking in its approach. Consequently, the Strategic Risk Management report’s more outwards-looking approach is particularly welcome.

Many of us have been arguing for some time that project management (PM) is best discussed in the context of the organisation within which, and/or for which, it is being undertaken. For example, Morris 2013:281 argued for the project’s organisation to be the unit of analysis, as follows.

Meanwhile, a review of the data on project overruns in the late 1980s suggested a broader paradigm for the discipline: ‘the management of projects’, one where the project organisation is the unit of analysis, where context, the front end, technology, people and the commercial basis of the project’s development and delivery are included, as well as the traditional control topics.

I have used a linear form of a basic organisational strategic management framework as a context for discussing project management in this journal for nearly six years, and a recursive version for nearly three years – the latest versions of which are shown as Figures 1 and 2 in Stretton 2023d.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this work: Stretton, A. (2023).  Some potential current and future-related topics for project management to consider addressing in more detail, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/pmwj134-Oct2023-Stretton-Some-potential-current-and-future-related-topics-for-project-management.pdf

 About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD     

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)


Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management.  He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA.  In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects.  He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France).  Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992.  He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996.  He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management.  He has published 250+ professional articles and papers.  Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.