One of my favorite singers is Randy Crawford and I often listened to her 1976 debut album “Everything must change.” Those words have a different meaning in my mind now, when I work as a project management teacher, researcher and advocate. We, advocates of project management, sometimes claim that it is all about the ability to change. Organisations need to be able to modify and adjust to new circumstances, new markets, new clients and changed requirements. Project management is the vehicle for change and in the last decades we have seen projectification emerge in societies all over the world.
But what about us who advocate for project management, research project management, develop and maintain the knowledge and teach project management and try to develop it as a professional discipline. Do we also need to change? Yes of course. And we do. We build up new relationships, we make use of new technology and we reorganise ourselves to become more effective, more productive, more lean.
I have had the privilege to work with people from all over the world within the network of IPMA since I was appointed a member of the Research Management Board (RMB) in 2013. I remember discussions in RMB on how we could do our best in spreading the good word and how we could more effectively connect the world of theory and practice in project management. Last but not least how we, as a board within IPMA, could do our best to service the member associations of IPMA all over the world. Many of our ideas have in fact become reality. To give an example, we now have annual research conferences where we carefully organise the rendezvous of practice and theory in project management. And I am very happy that another idea has been realized with a new journal; Project Management Research and Practice (PMRP), edited by Beverly Pasian. IPMA has gone through organisational changes and as a part of those, the RMB has been transformed into a new organisational set-up, which means to discontinue the existing team. I thank all the members of RMB I have worked with for their extensive work and contribution. I would like to name them for reference, Anbang Qi, Beverly Pasian, Michael Young, Miles Shephard, Les Squires, Yvonne Schoper, Maria do Rosário and Jouko Vaskimo.
I have now been honored by being appointed as the IPMA Research Coordinator and I look forward to working with professor Lixiong Ou – VP for research and professor Yvonne Schoper – Coordinator of the IPMA research conferences, as well as Olena Sharovara Research PMO.
There is a need to rethink project management research and never forget that it is all about people. We need to get more researchers involved in IPMA. Research can really help IPMA to realize its basic future vision, to “promote competence throughout society to enable a world in which all projects succeed.” Areas that I find particularly interesting are the professionalization of project management, the role of the project manager and the aspects of social responsibility and ethics that will shape that role in the future, including such topics as project management and sustainability.