PMs were warned if we don’t recognise the barriers to learning then we will continue to make the same mistakes over again.
Writing in the latest issue of Project, portfolio and benefits expert Stephen Jenner said the profession was still someway short of meeting the ‘Gershon challenge’ and projects were still failing for the same boringly repetitive reasons as a result.
Sir Peter Gershon, from the government’s Efficiency Reform Group, challenged the profession to stand up and be counted at last year’s APM Conference, reasoning that projects should fail for novel reasons only.
However, 12 months on, Jenner makes the point that the ‘knowing-doing’ gap still shows no sign of narrowing. “The solution isn’t acquiring more knowledge – it’s learning and applying what already exists,” he said.
He added that unless the situation was to alter radically, Sir Peter, or a successor, would be making similar challenges to the APM Conference in another 10 years.
One of those seeking to address the root causes of project failure is Amos Haniff, programme director at Heriot Watt University.
Speaking as part of Project’s new-look Resources section, Haniff said he was looking to develop ‘strategic thinkers’ in order to understand the wider aims of the business and align projects accordingly.
“In a time of economic uncertainty, lack of alignment of projects with organisation strategy, is considered the main cause of failure,” he said.
Former student Beth Gardner backed this approach.
Since completing her MSc in Strategic Management, Beth has been able to take a more holistic view of managing projects.
“It takes you out of the PM bubble,” she said.
For more see Project October – out now.