Bricolage and Improvisation within Contemporary Project Management

Bricolage and Improvisation within Contemporary Project Management - FuturePMO

The world is changing, and project management is changing with it.

When we considered project-based management a couple of decades ago, we tended to think in terms of ‘Plan – then Execute the Plan with the minimum of deviation’. However, in today’s turbulent organisational environments, that ‘classic’ project paradigm is no longer sufficient, or effective. Delivery of successful projects now requires much more than that.

We now live in a world of constant change, emerging requirements, and challenges to effective implementation. Project managers have to work differently, and PMO’s have to manage projects differently. The age of ‘minimum deviation’ from the original plan is gone.

Today’s effective project manager has to deal with constantly changing project outcomes, and the environmental turbulence that disrupts our attempts to deliver value from projects. This means that improvised work, and ‘bricolage’ – working with existing resources – are increasingly important skills for the effective project manager.

And… if your project managers are going to use these techniques and working styles, then the PMO needs to understand them, and be able to monitor them.

My session at FuturePMO will discuss where improvised work and bricolage came from, why it is effective, and how it is used, and hopefully controlled. Projects will never return to the ‘Plan – then Execute’, paradigm, so we all need to embrace the change.

Steve Leybourne is a Professor at Boston University, where he teaches innovation and entrepreneurship, and project and change management. He will be presenting at FuturePMO on 17th October 2019 in London; you can book tickets here.

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