“Projectification” or “Projectization” of Society
One of the Jean Monnet Chair's ongoing activities is the publication of a book concerning the phenomenon of the projectification of society. This publication will be made possible thanks to the collaboration of a panel of international experts from universities, professional organisations and project management practitioners.
When a body of knowledge is in the process of consolidation and continuous expansion, the meaning of each of the used terms is defined and shaped by the different studies, research and references that are generated.
In this sense, the debate among the authors of the book on the meaning and scope of some words, especially "projectification" and " projectization", has been enriching. So, the Jean Monnet Chair believe that sharing the ideas that have raised along the debate will help for the project management community to clarify the meaning of these terms.
As a starting point we used the next reference:
According to Müller (2009), the (level of) projectization indicates the extent to which a business is based on projects and the project way of working pervades. Thus, projectification and projectization should be rather distinguished, even though this is not (yet) commonly accepted. Projectization means the degree of organising activities through projects, what is a precondition for projectification; projectification has a much wider meaning, embracing projectization.
Javier Pajares (University of Valladolid – Spain)
Projectization and projectification don’t mean the same, but the frontier between them is very diffuse and sometimes “dangerous”. It is similar to the words credit and loan in the financial sector. I mean that the border is so narrow that somebody may use projectificacion when they should want to suggest projectization; and still, it is also possible that somebody uses projectization when projectification is the desired meaning.
For this reason, it could be inspiring to know that a Google search for projectification gives 31,500 results, whereas projectization gives only 13,500. Therefore, I suggest using projectification, except in particular cases. But these arguments lose strength when I realize that in Spanish, the Google figures are the opposite: 939 for proyectización and 124 for proyectificación (Feb 17 th. 1:18 CET).
Reinhard Wagner – Asked to ChatGPT (Alma Mater Europaea ECM)
The terms "projectization" and "projectification" are related to the process of organizing work into projects, but they have slightly different meanings.
"Projectization" refers to the process of organizing work that is typically performed in a functional or departmental context into a project-based structure. This involves the creation of a temporary organization, often with a project manager and team, that is focused on completing a specific project or set of projects. Projectization is often used to improve project efficiency, reduce costs, and increase the accountability and visibility of project work.
"Projectification," on the other hand, refers to a broader trend in modern society where more and more activities are being organized as projects. This trend can be seen in many areas, including business, government, education, and even personal life. Projectification can be seen as a response to the increasing complexity and uncertainty of the modern world, where traditional organizational structures may be less effective.
In summary, projectization is the specific process of organizing work into a project-based structure, while projectification is a broader trend towards organizing more and more activities as projects.
Beata Jałocha (Jagiellonian University in Krakow)
Generally, most scientific publications use term projectification. This seems natural because, as we all know, this term, coined by Christophe Midler, has inspired extensive research into project-driven processes. The phenomenon gained its name, which allowed - in Wittgenstein's understanding that it is possible to know what is named - to start in-depth research on projectification processes.
According to Arvi Kuura’s paper you cited “projectification and projectization should be rather distinguished”. Hence, the key element that allows us to understand the difference between projectization and projectification is, in my opinion, how we define project:
- In case of projectization, we rather refer to the well-known project definition, where project is understood as a managerial activity limited by resources, time and scope.
- When we talk about projectification, the notion of project becomes much more complex and fuzzy. While researching projectification, scientists often refer to other various forms of activities, not necessarily defined as projects in a more strict sense - grants, co-financing initiatives, collaborations or personal activities are commonly also referred to as projects (although in the strict sense they are not projects).
Moreover, projectification is not only about number of projects – it is institutionalization of projects in society, where projects and project-alike activities become embedded within all levels and areas of society through beliefs, norms, values, structures, and modes of behavior.
There is a blurred line between projectization and projectification. However, I agree that the first can be actually measured, while the second is an umbrella concept, a multidimensional socio-cultural construct.
Finally, it has been possible to reach a consensus on the use of "projectization" when referring to the process of organising work that is normally carried out in a functional or departmental context through projects. On the other hand, "projectification" is used when there is a change in organisational structures towards project-based management, at any of the levels studied, as a response to a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment in order to optimise management and expected results.
Everything indicated here refers to the English terms. When it comes to Spanish, doubt arises in the use of the term because, apart from the Google citations indicated by Prof. Pajares, Jesús Martínez (IPMA) suggests what is projected is the project, while an organisation, an entity and therefore society is projectized. The problem arises from having two terms in English and only one in Spanish. The solution could be to use "increase in the number of activities managed as projects" when it comes from the English term "projectization" and keep projectization when it comes from the English term "proyectification", although this would create what in terms of language and translation is known as a "false friend".
Work In Progress 
Humans, aware of the limited resources for all their needs, have always sought the most efficient way to manage them.
In addition, integrated into higher structures (companies and organisations, sectors, states and even the world in general), they have also assumed this premise with the ultimate aim of doing more with less while complying with the initial requirements in terms of cost, quality and time.
Organisations are classically classified according to the way in which they undertake their work, by function or on a project basis. Between the two extremes there are mixed solutions that try to combine the advantages of both approaches.
The fact is that, in recent decades, the project-based approach has been gaining prominence at all levels. The number of projects has increased and many of the jobs have been integrated into temporary organisations with a project-based orientation. Administrations and states have also chosen to define their short and medium-term budgets by formulating annual and multi-annual projects.
This growing prominence makes the phenomenon of the Projectification of societies at all levels of great interest. Previous studies have already analysed the problem in terms of the scale of the study.
Some of these studies have highlighted not only the advantages of project-oriented organisations but also all the disadvantages and difficulties (the dark side of projectification) that come with orienting all work through a project-based approach.
The aim of this research is to carry out an updated review of the concept of projectification in relation to the different definitions of project, analysing the different levels at which it manifests itself in society as well as its main consequences, both positive and negative, at the individual, organisational and finally social level.
Processes vs. Projects – Process management vs. Project Management
Sharing the same language and the meaning of terms is essential to ensure that management proposals and experiences can be exchanged with a certain degree of success. Sometimes people talk about processes when they should have to talk about projects.
This white paper aims to clarify the concepts of processes and projects, as well as process management and project management..
Research stay by Dra. Claudette El Hajj [Feb 2022]
Dr. Claudette El Hajj, from the University of Notre Dame of Lebanon has carried out a research stay in Granada during the week of 21-26 February 2022.
Professor El Hajj, expert in new technologies applied to project management (BIM) is collaborating with the Jean Monnet Chair developing a research on the process of projectification of society and how it is affecting all levels (from micro to meta).
To this end, the research has been designed through a bibliometric analysis, a systematic literature review (SLR) and a subsequent discussion of the main findings.
The projectification and its effects at all levels is considered an essential issue in economic and social development today, especially in view of the design of public policies.
Public policies become a reality by launching programmes and projects that have to be managed in an efficient way in order to achieve the desired outputs, outcomes and benefits in the medium and long term.
The outcome of this collaboration is the publication of an international article entitled "Projectification of the society: A Compulsory Debate".
In addition, together with another professor from the University of Ontario in Canada, Dima, together with the Jean Monnet Chair, will participate in the writing of one of the chapters of the book that the Jean Monnet Chair committed to in the proposal presented within the project.
International Congress on Project Management and Engineering
On 6, 7 and 8 July, the Jean Monnet Chair participated in the International Congress on Project Management and Engineering - ICPME 2021 held in Alcoy (Alicante) and organised by AEIPRO (IPMA Spain).
A paper has been presented entitled Project Management Methodologies: Challenges and Opportunities: The Case of PM2
The projectification of most of the works is a reality at present and the trend will increase in the coming years. In this context, it is worth analysing the future of the project management methodologies, as well as the possible trends and challenges. The launch in open and free format of the PM2 methodology developed by the European Commission, the changes that the seventh edition of the PMBoK of the PMI is going to present and the lessons learnt from the changing environments left by the last events at world level make the moment timely to think about the future. This research investigates what characteristics the project management methodologies will have to have in order to allow the successful management of projects. This article presents some of the characteristics that are intuitively essential such as: flexible and adaptive, hybrid (sum of prediction and adaptation), with transferable contents and formats between them, oriented to the whole project life cycle and capable of defining the success of the initial project, taking into account all the objectives and stakeholders that may be affected by it. The case of the PM2 methodology is analysed in relation to all these characteristics.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT; METHODOLOGIES; OPENPM2; TRENDS;
Project Management: The importance of the initiating and closing phases.
Project management includes several phases from conceptualisation to closure of the project.
The initiating and closing phases, although not the most actives and resource-intensive have a great importance for the success of projects.
This paper discusses this issue, as well as the fact that the vision of project success has moved beyond the well-known golden triangle of project management.
A more holistic view of the project, focused on the possibility of generating results and benefits in the mid and long term, both for the organisation and for the different stakeholders, makes it necessary to take into account the entry into service and operation phase within the project life cycle..
Analysis of the new ISO 21502:2020. Comparison with PM2.
In December 2020 the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) released the new ISO 21502:2020, which replaces ISO 21500:2012 in its approach as a high-level standard or guide for project management.
This standard joins the 21500 series of standards, which as of today would consist of:
- ISO 21500 (under development) Project, programme and portfolio management — Context and concepts.
- ISO 21502:2020 (E) Project, programme and portfolio management «Guidance on project management».
- ISO 21503:2017 Project, programme and portfolio management — Guidance on programme management.
- ISO 21504:2015 Project, programme and portfolio management — Guidance on portfolio management.
- ISO 21505:2017 Project, programme and portfolio management — Guidance on governance.
- ISO/TR 21506:2018 Project, programme and portfolio management – Vocabulary.
The new ISO 21500, which is under development, will no longer correspond specifically to project management but will focus on concepts and the definition of the context, linking projects, programmes and portfolios from a strategic perspective.
Project management is currently undergoing a huge transformation process in which ISO has taken the lead at the launch date but which will soon be accompanied by the seventh edition of PMI’s PMBoK, for which profound changes have been announced, both in terms of structure and approach.
Throughout this paper, We will try to unpack the main new features of ISO 21502:2020. Finally, We will reflect on common elements with the PM2 methodology developed by the European Commission and some personal considerations.
How Open and Free initiatives work. The PM2 case.
One of the current trends in knowledge management is increasing the visibility of the results obtained, whether at a teaching, research or professional level, by making the resources available in an open and free format.
Open and Free means, on the one hand, that the whole community provides the resources in an editable format whose acquisition and use is completely free.
This brings about an increase in the number of members using a certain method, methodology, software or framework, ensuring the existence of many more perspectives and applications for different projects (both in size and complexity) in different fields and environments (including cultural ones).
The result of the involvement of a larger number of practitioners, often with eminently practical approaches, is a large number of lessons learned which, if well managed, could lead to opportunities for improving the original proposal.
To make this possible, once a resource has been made open and free, it is necessary to think about how to manage it.
Widespread access to the resource means the participation of a multitude of users with different roles, which immediately results in the acceleration of the processes of change and improvement. This is because the resource is being tested in a multitude of contexts, which are often unforeseen by the developer at the outset.
Therefore, there are two possibilities for the original developer once the resource has been set up as open and free:
- Maintain control and leadership over the evolution of the resource. This means answering the demands of the user community, establishing a continuous line of communication that makes it possible to receive feedback, as well as to deal with the difficulties that arise in the use of the resource and the proposals made. Once this information has been received , the developer will improve and update the versions of the resource to the extent and in the direction of the lessons learned from the practical application of the resource. This requires the original developer to establish an agile and effective mechanism, with sufficient resources for this task.
- Let the product evolve in line with the movements, whether organised or not, of the community of users of the original resource. In this case, the developer must keep in mind that, eventually, the original versions will become obsolete and replaced by those improved by the users. These versions will include lessons learned and essential feedback in a fast-changing and highly uncertain working environment.
The European Commission's Open PM2 initiative is an example of an open and free resource. It was made possible by the implementation of the European Commission decision of 12 December 2011 (2011/833/EU) on the "reuse of Commission documents to promote accessibility and reuse".
It is a project management methodology (for any type, size, complexity and nature of project) whose main objective is to facilitate the achievement of objectives in terms of deliverables and results simply, providing a framework that includes a governance model, the project lifecycle, processes and artefacts to be used. It also establishes a common language that facilitates communication and understanding between managers and stakeholders related to the project, based on international best practices.
Although it has a generalist vocation, it is clear that, due to its origins (DIGIT-EU), the methodology has many references related to the European institution and IT projects.
Since it became available in an open and free format (at the end of 2016), the Commission has wanted to oversee the process of the evolution of the methodology, creating, at that time, the PM2 centre of excellence (CoEPM2), which brings together all the official development and training actions, either directly or collaboratively, related to PM2. There is even a support network for the use of PM2.
After a reasonable period of time, we are at the end of the fifth year of OpenPM2, it is clear that there are many opportunities for improvement based on the lessons learned from its use.
It would be interesting to receive feedback concerning the opportunities and/or difficulties that the use of the methodology presents in private initiative projects, or in other fields of activity. Sectors such as energy, water, urban development, transport, development cooperation and logistics are good examples of scenarios in which the methodology should be tested, adapted and customised to meet the particular conditions of each case.
Professional certification processes complement the standards and methodologies. There is a real demand from project management practitioners because it is a normal process in the project management field, and it is an element recognised by employers as part of an individual’s C.V.. Currently, the European Commission's professional certification system is limited exclusively to its own staff.
The impossibility for professionals outside the European Commission to obtain official certification and the active dynamic of users and professionals who are putting PM2 methodology to good use has resulted in the emergence of non-profit entities on the market that are trying to fill the gap left by the original developer.
With an in-depth knowledge of the methodology and a collaborative approach, these entities offer a space for the exchange of experiences and lessons learned. They have also established professional certification mechanisms at different levels and with different objectives, developing publications that provide formal and documentary support for all these processes. The PM2 Alliance is the most visible example of this movement.
The release of the open and free version of the PM2 methodology are timely and its importance has been confirmed by the volume of investment foreseen in the framework of the Next Generation actions of the European Union. This is an unique opportunity in the generalisation of the use of the methodology.
It is necessary to take advantage of this opportunity to consolidate a common, open and free project management methodology for all Europeans. At this point, it would be advisable for the European Commission to activate all the actions necessary to achieve this objective.
Project management methodologies have to adapt to projects and never the vice versa (and others thoughts).
We have just reviewed an international publication whose research base was a survey of project management practitioners. It has been an interesting read as it provides what should never be lost sight of: project management tools only make sense if they ultimately provide a practical and facilitating character, improving efficiency in the application of resources, always limited, to achieve the project's objectives.
One of the aspects that most caught our attention is that when asked the question "What project management methodology / method do you use in your organisation?", more than half of the respondents answered "internal methodology", or in other words a methodology developed "ad hoc" within the organisation itself.
This result is linked to a principle in project management that, on many occasions, far from being fulfilled, complicates the tasks to be carried out by project managers. This premise reminds us that: it is the project management methodology that has to adapt to the project and never the vice versa".
Starting from this point, characteristics that are requirements for any project management methodology are that it should be simple, easy to apply and adaptable to any type of project, whatever the type and scope in which it is developed.
In other words, the use of complex methodologies with vast extensions, complex conceptual frameworks and a multitude of components can be a waste of resources and a cause of project failure. We must not spend efforts out of where we really need: the project deliverables and the satisfaction of the client and the rest of the stakeholders.
Another trend in project management, derived from digitalisation and the possibilities of virtual communication, is the formation of work teams that are geographically and culturally diverse. These teams need methodologies not excessively complex (if something has to be complex, it should be determined by the nature of the project and not by the own methodology) and that share a common language to avoid communication problems and misunderstandings.
The prevalence of a particular project management methodology is often determined by the geographical location of the project (PMI-USA; OpenPM2-IPMA-Europe; AIPM-Australia; PRINCE2 - UK; AJPM-Japan; etc.). If in the coming years the members of a project management team may work in different places around the world, it is necessary that the project management methodologies are lightweight, and have as many elements in common as possible. It will make easier to find a core body regardless of which methodology is finally chosen for a project.
In recent years, the importance of change management capacity has become increasingly important in the day-to-day management of projects. This circumstance obliges both professionals and tools to have a structure that internalises change management as one of the fundamental elements.
This fact has accelerated in recent times by the latest events that, worldwide, have substantially changed the way we relate to each other, the way we communicate and the way we carry out our work.
A methodology in which the whole community can contribute experiences, challenges and lessons learned is a benefit, as it provides an up-to-date tool that adapts to the changing needs of organisations and the projects they undertake.
All of this gives meaning to open source initiatives in which contributions and proposals for improvement could come from very different cultural and working contexts.
This consideration makes sense when the same language is shared and used, allowing the participation of the greatest number of agents and stakeholders in project management (professionals, organisations, public institutions, etc.).
However, there is still some way to progress in this respect. The development of a common glossary of terms and meanings related to project management would be very useful. This glossary could be developed and supported by the international well-known organisations in the project management arena. All of them could commit to using it in all the documentation, methods and tools.
In conclusion, the project management community is coming to accept that the discussion of whether to work with traditional (waterfall) or agile methodologies needs to finish. Not all projects are the similar and not all teams find the ideal solution in one type of methodology. This is why hybrid use has gained a lot space in recent years and will continue to do so for the near future.
This trend reflects the fact that is “ad hoc methodologies” that provide the best service and efficiency in project management. The principle that gives the title to these reflections will be fulfilled: the methodology has to be adapted to the project and not vice versa. The adaptation could be built by highlighting the positive aspects of each of the traditional and agile worlds.
This work has been made possible thanks to the collaboration of the European Commission, through the Erasmus + Programme, Jean Monnet Actions and Project No. 619648-EPP-1-2020-1-ES-EPPJMO-CHAIR.
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 Stephen Keith McGrath, Stephen Jonathan Whitty, (2020)," Practitioner views on project management methodology (PMM) effectiveness”, The Journal of Modern Project Management, Issue 23 Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 188-212. https://doi.org/10.19255/JMPM02310
PM2 vs others PMM
One of the research lines that have been initiated is the comparative study of the PM2 methodology with other project management methodologies (PMM). The analysis of similarities and differences allows to know conclusions in relation to functionality and scope.
Of particular interest are those methodologies used within the European Commission, such as the one developed by Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI). The conceptual framework is the next one:
This framework already shows the use of different language to refer to phases and even control points in relation to PM2. There are also important differences in the documents and tools used. All this analysis will be the subject of a detailed publication.
PMM Future: Open & Blended
Work conditions change fast and continuously. The environment in which we carry out our activities also changes. Project-oriented management is a validated approach that improves success, effectiveness and efficiency of our daily performance.
In order to achieve this success, Project Management Methodologies (PMMs) are essential as they allow us to know the activities and processes to be carried out, when activities have to be carried out, how we have to focus etc. Most of the PMMs include monitoring and control processes that allow us to know the degree of compliance with the objectives and fix milestones, making easier the decision making process that corrects deviations and prevents us from overrun and over budgets.
It is important to remember that PPMs are not bodies of knowledge, frameworks, etc. PMM must be practical and guide the project manager throughout the entire project life cycle. PMM have to ensure that all the activities are carried out within the golden triangle of project management (timeframe, benchmarking, scope plus quality).
Furthermore, PMM should be light and adaptable to different types of projects and different working environments (activity areas, cultural contexts, etc.)
The documents linked to the management of the project must be as few as possible, simple and it has to allow:
- A simple audit (both internal and external)
- To extract, through the lessons learned, the best practices and the mistakes made that allow and ensure a continuous improvement.
It cannot be forgotten that the PMM is just a guess to a play in which the main actor is the project, its outputs, its outcomes and benefits (in the short, medium and long term). If the PMM becomes a protagonist, it is a sign that we are mismanaging the project.
Current PMMs can be classified into the following groups:
- Predictive (linked to the traditional «waterfall» approach)
- Adaptive (aware that there are many changing elements in the project environment and that they must be able to adapt and consolidate work in a precise way).
- Blended, which combine the advantages of both.
On many occasions the choice of an exclusively predictive methodology does not fit the changing and dynamic needs of the project.
In other cases, the choice of an adaptive methodology (such as Agile, Scrum …) means that nts objectives, outputs and outcomes of the project are not well formulated from the beginning of the project (final cost, delivery times, operational constraints, etc.)
For this reason, the possibility of using a methodology that is predictive but whose formulation allows it to engage directly and immediately in an adaptive framework (such as Agile) is a head start in the field of project management methodologies.
This is the case of the PM² methodology developed by the European Commission and in open format – OpenPM², since 2016.
I have analysed OpenPM² deeply and it is blended because two dimensions:
- OpenPM² developes a predictive approach compatible with an Agile extension (when necessary).
- OpenPM² incorporates approaches, concepts, good practices and elements from other bodies of knowledge, standards, methodologies and even competency-based approaches to project management.
Others OpenPM² characteristics make possible to face the future with many possibilities:
- The incorporation of artefacts (templates) that help and guide the project manager throughout the whole process, facilitating the customisation and adaptation of the methodology and its documents to any kind of project.
- The open nature of the methodology. Making the decision to open a methodology to the general public immediately:
- The developer loses prominence by giving it to the community of users of the methodology, who will be able to adapt, reduce and improve the methodology.
- The workforce is too much bigger. A well organised community of users shares experiences, lessons learned, documentation. It allows an asymptotic improvement of the methodology in different contexts.
- Define a governance model that can be adapted to the project in each case. This governance model makes possible to know the roles and responsibilities of all the agents involved in project management. Therefore, the response to the person who has to undertake a certain activity throughout the life cycle of the project is always known.
- Define a clear and strong mindsets. The Mindsets crystallise the philosophy of PM² as a methodology and make it both more effective and complete. Mindsets is a unique feature in the PMMs area and it is extreme useful when we talk about agility.
The OpenPM² methodology is presented with a simple structure that is compatible with the use of all the tools and techniques commonly used in project management. OpenPM² adopts a position of approach and synergy with other standards and methodologies, thus avoiding exclusion in project management.
For all these reasons, I really believe that OpenPM² is a winner bet in the short and medium term future of project management methodologies. I also think that the rest of the well-known international PMMs are going to have to make decisions towards open and blended approach.