In a competitive market, all new growth comes from projects. The world economy has become much more competitive in the last ten years, because of three factors, namely the lowering of trade barriers, the rise of China and other low cost jurisdictions, and Internet and other technology developments. The level of competition facing businesses is as great as it was in Victorian times, if not greater. In Victorian times great new business and social organizations were built quickly from scratch, and many long-established institutions failed or sank into terminal decline, forever eclipsed by more vigorous upstarts who understood the new rules of the game better. So while those who say that organizations today face unprecedented rates of change and innovation have scant understanding of history, it is certainly true that we are in one of history's periods of great change, uncertainty and competition. By definition, projects are about the new, and by extension all new growth in a competitive market comes from projects. And this, fundamentally, is why project management has gone from being an esoteric and specialized backwater ten years ago to one of the foremost concerns of top management. By 2007 in the industrialized economies, everything that could be outsourced, downsized, reengineered or web-enabled has been or is in the process of being outsourced, downsized, reengineered or web-enabled. The only remaining way to create new value and new growth is to get better at doing new things better which is project management.
And it is not just commercial businesses which are increasing their project and programme management capability. Governments across the world are re-embracing project management and investing heavily in it. Governments are increasingly recognizing that they must enhance their project management capability, which somewhere between the 1970s and 1990s seemed to become neglected. Project management, even in the days of the building the pyramids of Egypt, has been a discipline developed equally by government and private enterprise. In more recent times the armed forces and the financial services industries have been especially prominent in advancing project management, both in its application and in the theoretical body of knowledge. Project management is a unique conduit for swords into ploughshares, as techniques funded by the armed forces and especially the nuclear weapons industry are applied by local government and the caring professions to help build a fairer, more just and freer society.
This second edition is an almost complete re-write of the highly successful first edition. The main change is that the second edition is consistent with the PMBOK Guide, which is a standard administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). The Institute is the world's largest and fastest-growing professional body for project management with a strong presence in all geographical regions and industries. The book is written above all for practicing project and programme managers, and as practitioners are increasingly wanting to take the professional exams offered by the PMI, we have tried to ensure that the way the book is written supports those readers who intend to sit the exams, both PMP and CAPM of the PMI. The second edition retains the focus on the human aspects of project management that featured in the first edition. Whatever methodology or standard is used in project management, it is first of all people who matter, because it is people who get projects done or who block them. Project management is first of all about people.
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