The summarizing model below on the major developments provides a sketch of the antecedents and the early developments leading up to the current understanding of Project Society. The early developments implied putting the project goal in focus and by stressing management of the project. Responsibilities were centralized to one person or possibly to a group.
These antecedents are in the minds of many current actors and important for the ongoing projectification playing major roles in determining the developments and contents in Project Society. It is further helped by the developments in information and communication technologies (ICT) occurring simultaneously.
ICT has not only transformed the character of management and work, but also diminished the importance of the work place and provided an omnibus character to activities. But projectification is also affected by the notions involved in temporality. By the end of the previous century a division into two types became evident. One is characterized as a classical project with a dominance of action and goal or task and the other focused on organizational aspects (Temporary Organization). Both types of characterizations (or mindsets) are important and it appears that the latter is providing a new dynamism to the field. Including temporary organizations as belonging to the project group has provided a major impetus for Project Society.
|Antecedents||Early Developments||Current Developments|
|—————————–>||Project Society ———->|
|Historical||Roots in Engineering,||Projectification|
|Roots||World War II,The PM FocusProject Portfolios||ProgrammificationICT, Temporary OrganizationMindset|
Elements in the Formation of Project Society
The management concerns in the early developments also led to handling portfolios of projects rather than merely individual projects as isolated phenomena. The efficiency question was how the portfolio could be handled more efficiently when interdependencies were taken into account in the sequence of projects or how parallelism could be used in the efforts to accomplish a good delivery of the total and not of the individual project.
A final comment on Project Society is that it cannot be considered as a final step in the development of the world but rather as a step in societal development. This thought is illustrated by the arrow to the right in the figure. However, the focus on projects and temporary organizations seem to be very important at the present time. But what will happen from now on is open for observation and speculation!
Rolf A. Lundin
Professor Emeritus, Business Administration