Are Project Managers On a Verge of Extinction?

Recently I was asked if project management still has any value, as the world is shifting from a project to a product mindset. The question concerned specifically the PMP and PRINCE2 certifications, but it inspired me to think more.

Paweł Huryn
2 min readNov 26, 2021

First, let’s look at the modified Stacey graph. There are 3 major dimensions of complexity:

  • Certainty about requirements — are they agreed upon?
  • Certainty about technology — will it work as planned?
  • Certainty about people — how well will they work together?
Modified Stancey grap

Most of the initiatives these days lay in a complex domain, where little is known about people, technology, and requirements. Often we don’t even know what questions we should ask.

Imagine you’re Elon Musk, you’ve just started SpaceX, and your first goal is to build a reusable rocket. What are the chances you’ll get it right the first time without formulating hypotheses running small experiments, inspecting and adapting?

I doubt that traditional project management is suitable for complex initiatives. How can anyone believe that with so many "unknown unknowns," it is possible to plan all actions in advance?

On top of that, the complexity around us is raising like never before — blockchain, NTF, AI, Big Data, hyper-automation, DAO. The world becomes increasingly more complex every day.

There are also two other issues you need to consider as a project manager:

  • Simple initiatives do not require expert leaders. Career paths are closing
  • The most skilled people, like developers, don’t want to be “resources”

Im my opinion, only some project management techniques, such as Risk Management, may be useful. Others will give you an illusion of control.

Still in project management? It's time to leave your comfort zone.

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