IPMA International Project Management Association
24 July 2017 / 7:03

Organizational Project Management

In recent years, the focus of project management shifted from managing an individual project to managing a multitude of projects in organizations. Thus, the organization and its leadership became more important for managing projects. Standards like the IPMA Organizational Competence Baseline (IPMA OCB) or the ISO 21505 „Projects, Programmes and Portfolios – Guidance on Governance“ emerged. A new Cambridge Handbook of Organizational Project Management picks-up the topic and addresses the totality of project-related work at the organizational level, providing a view of organizations as a network of projects to be coordinated among themselves, integrated by the more permanent organization, and to move away from a focus on individual projects. It provides views from a wide range of international scholars researching the topic at a cross-disciplinary level. It covers concepts, theories, and practices from disciplines allied to management, such as strategic management, organization science, and behavioural science.

The three editors are reknowned for their research activities in this field and they conclude at the end of the handbook: „We addressed the challenge of developing this view (i.e., the ontology of OPM) after experiencing a wide variety of opinions about the subject when talking to our academic colleagues, studentsm and representatives from many industries and the public sector. Some of them saw projects, programs, and portfolios as individual organizational entities that occupy different levels in corporate hierarchies but do not integrate to form a larger OPM organization. Others were attuned to the idea of an integrated OPM and said it is natural to view organizations in this way… Our personal opinion about OPM ist hat it is a necessary perspective to understand corporate and organizational reality. Optimization of economic and noneconomic benefits can only be accomplished through continuous efforts to understand the OPM-organization and tailor it for the achievement of the objectives of the variety of stakeholders and the organization itself.“


  • Thanks very much for the book tip. Interesting reading. This is what I learned: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2082125126

  • Ville Otra-Aho says:

    In between writing about strategy, organization and people in a project management context, the professors Sankaran, Müller, and Drouin have turned out novel book and forceful ideas that compel us to reconsider the origins of organization project management from a new perspective as:

    “integration of all project management activities throughout the organization hierarchy or network”

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.