IPMA International Project Management Association
14 November 2018 / 9:00

The VASB Age: Should project management Step-in or Stay-out of it?

“There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo

The VASB (Virtual reality, Artificial intelligence, Social media, Big data) age tech-evolution is redefining the human existence as societies, working patterns, and thinking and behaviors are transforming in the gasp of the changing reality.

Project management (PM) with an ongoing need for agility and efficiencies, in hindsight, cannot stay on the periphery of evolution as a silent spectator and must act to examine the pros and cons of embracing VASB age evolution. The question then is should PM step-in or stay-out of VASB age?

To build some thought towards finding the answer to the above question, below we present an initial argument that looks into some of the reasons and possibilities for why PM should (or should not) step-in into the VASB age.

Reasons for PM to step-in into the VASB age

  1. Cash-in on the opportunity to enlarge PM knowledge orbit

PM as a young and modern discipline (roughly 50 years old) is expected to benefit from embracing VASB age evolution to enlarge its knowledge portfolio and document new best practices.

The benefits are not just limited to enlarging the disciplinary boundaries, but by embracing VASB age evolution, PM will be ready to serve new types of tech projects and hence cash-in on the business opportunities. The shift will enhance interest in the discipline among the future generation of professionals, ultimately leading to overall betterment.

  1. Be ready for times when VASB become a norm like internet

One may like it or not, the reality is, the VASB age evolution is here to say. Not embracing it could mean a missed opportunity. By embracing it, PM will be much readier for times when the VASB become a routine or norm like using internet for daily life and business activities.

If PM keeps-up with the pace of VASB age evolution; the PM knowledge base will be contemporary and relevant providing skills that can immediately be employed for delivering complex projects.  Consulting businesses will also benefit as they will be able to offer services in a contemporary business environment.

  1. Make PM people future-ready

Embracing VASB age evolution will help PM professionals in the industry to make the most of evolution and be future-ready. It is important to ensure that PM professionals are skill-ready as PM is a predominantly soft-skills science. Since, PM is used at a variety of levels and in a variety of environments, hence bringing everyone upto the speed is a mammoth task. Therefore, it seems useful that PM step-in into VASB age evolution at the earliest time possible rather than staying at the periphery of evolution and waiting for things to happen.

  1. Contribute towards VASB developments

PM plays a pivotal role in the social and economic developments across the globe. If PM embraces the VASB age evolution and becomes ready, it can help in delivery of successful VASB projects. Given the newness of technologies, VASB projects are expected to be complex and costly. Therefore, PM based scientific approach and knowledge could be extremely valuable for competent delivery of these projects and facilitating overall VASB age developments.

  1. Take the lead and be the Next Profession

PM can take the lead in embracing VASB age evolution and be The Next Profession. Demonstrating vision in adopting the VASB age evolution will help PM establish itself as the Next Profession and the leader in industry. People will see PM as a dynamic profession, one which keeps pace with the changing realities and vision of future.

Education and training domains of PM will also benefit as they will be able to setup new programs and trainings for the industry professionals and learners to embrace VASB age evolution and be ready for the future jobs.

  1. Leverage upon the defined orbit of PM profession

The defined orbit of PM profession will enable the adoption and integration of VASB much easier. The often-known boundary span of PM profession will also make it easy to plan and drive the knowledge change. Target audience will be identifiable and hence propagation of the new knowledge and skills among the professionals will be easier compared to other management disciplines.

  1. Leverage upon the established knowledge distribution channels

The established knowledge distribution channels such as PM professional bodies, chapters and other networks provide an added advantage to PM profession to take the lead and embrace VASB age evolution. Communication will be faster, and propagation of new standards and knowledge can be done with focus efficiently.

Reasons for PM to stay-out of the VASB age (at least for the time being)

  1. Lack of thought-readiness

A lack of thought-readiness on the benefits, process and use of embracing VASB age evolution could be one of the impediments that may lead to staying-out of it. More needs to be done to build thought leadership on how to develop new knowledge and standards for VASB age? How to benefit from the evolution? How to use it for creating new PM methodologies, processes and techniques?

  1. Sense of sluggishness towards adopting new trends

A sense that evolution of PM standards takes time may result in PM staying-out of VASB age evolution. Slow developments will also mean that the PM knowledge may not be developed enough to be used for VASB age projects which could deter further developments in PM getting ready to embrace VASB age evolution and hence a view that PM stay-out of it.

  1. Organizational maturity in VASB is still at the early stages

Projects are not insolated events. They exist in organizational settings and created to help organizational activities. As organizational maturity in VASB is still in its infancy, it may not inspire PM to embrace VASB age.

  1. Policies, laws and regulations are not well developed

The developments in VASB age evolution necessitate corresponding developments in policies, regulations and legal matters. However, the present state of policies and regulatory infrastructure is not mature enough as the VASB technologies are still evolving. It may deter PM from stepping in into VASB age.

  1. Project management 2.0 is still evolving

The slow evolution of conceptual thought, standards and processes for Project Management 2.0 may also not bode well for embracing the VASB age in PM. An argument could be, once the PM 2.0 is ready and established then it will be much easier to integrate VASB technologies. As such, PM should stay-out of VSSB age at least for the time being.

Concluding thoughts:
The above discussion points to the opportunities, uncertainties and challenges on the path to embracing VASB age evolution. Notwithstanding the challenges, it is very clear that the VASB age evolution is a reality, an unavoidable phenomenon. Not embracing it seems to be not an option, and all one can do is to be ready. Additionally, uncertainties are part and parcel of project-based activities. Therefore, perhaps it is the time for PM to accept the uncertainties, leverage upon the opportunity and lead the next generation of professionals into the VASB age.

Authored by:

Professor Jiwat Ram

© 2018 Jiwat Ram, All Rights Reserved.

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Author of this post

Jiwat is a Professor in Project Management. He has considerable experience of working internationally in diverse cultures and business environments.

Jiwat is currently serving on the Editorial Board of International Journal of Project Management.

Jiwat actively contributes to project management community. His work has been published in top scientific journals and Four of his published papers have remained in Top25 most downloaded papers. Additionally, two of his papers have been ranked as the Most Cited article published since 2012. More recently, he has published a number of articles on some of the issues confronting project management in various industry based outlets.