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Stuck in the ’60s

The great British leader Winston Churchill once said, “We are shaping the world faster than we can change ourselves, and we are applying to the present the habits of the past.” A half a century later, and one can say that nothing has changed regarding the validity of Churchill’s painful insight. This is how, in 2001, the British management business leader and philosopher Charles Handy vividly described the pace of change, “All of the world’s trade in 1949 happens in a single day today, all of the foreign exchange dealings in 1979 happen now in a single day, as do all the telephone calls made around the world in 1984. A year in a day is exactly how it feels sometimes.”3

Yet, in spite of these vast world changes, the theory of project management has remained largely unchanged. Just as Churchill astutely observed how we are stuck in our ways, so did the British executive and a professor of project management, P.W.G. Morris, note more recently that, “Modern project management... emerged... in a period that was more inflexible and less complex and where events changed less rapidly than today... it [the theory of project management] is in many respects still stuck in a 1960s time warp.”4


  

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