© David L. Pells, 2008, published here December 2010 with permission.

Introduction | A Broad Definition of IT 
1.  Massive Investment in IT Worldwide | 2.  The Natural Project Orientation of IT
3.  IT Project Failures | 4.  The Increasing Complexity of IT Programs & Projects
5.  Rapidly Changing Technologies | 6.  The Information Age - The Third Wave has Arrived
7.  IT Crosses Over Industries, Organizations, Programs & Projects
Why These Trends Will Continue! | What it Means to the Project Management Profession

Editor's Note:

This Guest article was first published as an editorial in PM World Today, June 2008 (Vol. X, Issue VI) as Seven Good Reasons for the Rapid Growth of Project Management in IT and why that Trend will Continue. We are pleased to have permission to republish this article as a valuable insight into the largest sector of project management activity.

David L. Pells is Managing Editor of PM World Today and of www.pmforum.org, one of the world's leading online sources of project management news and information. David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of project management, with over thirty years experience in project management. His professional experience includes a wide variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, transit, defense and high technology, with sizes ranging from several thousand to ten billion dollars. He served on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice, and was awarded PMI's Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award in 1999. He has published widely and speaks at PM conferences and events worldwide. David can be reached by email at editor@pmforum.org .


Over the last decade, modern professional project management (PM) has been embraced by organizations involved in information technology (IT) more rapidly and more seriously than in any other sectors. The increased use of PM in technology organizations has been astounding, as reflected by the rapid growth in membership in the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI has seen its membership increase from 50,000 to over 270,000 worldwide over the last 12 years, with 80% of the new members working in IS, IT, Telecoms and other technology-oriented organizations. In particular, PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has been widely embraced and adapted by IT organizations, to the point where the PMP is now one of the most sought after certifications within the IT sector.

Many of us who have been involved with the PM profession for many years have been amazed at these trends, wondering what it all means. Is the PM profession now to be completely dominated by IS and IT organizations? Why haven't we seen similar growth in adapting PM among older, more traditional, project-oriented industries and organizations, such as in aerospace, construction and defense? What is really driving these trends? Why all the interest in PM by IT professionals and companies? Will this trend continue?

In this paper I have outlined seven major reasons why I think IT organizations and professionals have so rapidly and fully embraced PM. In this context I include software, hardware, systems and subsystems development in the IT sector. The factors discussed below apply to all of these industries, and the projects and organizations within those industries. These seven reasons have all put enormous pressure on technology organizations to embrace professional PM to improve performance on IT programs and projects.

The seven good reasons for the rapid growth of PM in the IT sector are:

  1. Massive investments in IT worldwide
  2. The natural project-orientation of IT
  3. The increasing complexity of IT programs and projects
  4. Rapidly changing Technologies
  5. IT Project Failures
  6. The Information Age - The Third Wave has arrived
  7. IT crosses all industries, organizations and projects

As I said, I believe these seven factors have fueled the growth and interest in PM in the IT sector. In addition, these factors when taken together have also led to other important trends and developments in the PM field, including Project Portfolio Management and Complex PM.


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