Projects equal change

We live in a period of major changes everywhere. New technology transforms and disrupts how we go about our lives and how we interact. Today, the four biggest companies in the world — Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple — are all tech companies, and none of which existed only a few decades ago.

New players are constantly finding new ways to innovate and make our lives easier. These players are often small and fast. The startup scene has never been more striving. Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, Kahoot and are all examples of start-ups that has changed our everyday life.

The competition has gone global. So businesses must be able to compete with the best of what’s out there. The local clothing shop now competes with Zalando, Alibaba and Amazon. Aftenposten, VG and Dagbladet compete with Facebook, Google and Twitter. Choice Hotels and Scandic Hotels now compete with, Trivago and Airbnb. Business models are becoming obsolete fast and old recipes for success do not work any more. New ways of creating growth is constantly being challenged.

In business there are always two main modes of operating — through operations or through projects.

The dominant mode is usually operations. This is the way an organisation goes about its day-to-day business. It means doing what they know how to do, and what they might be trying to do faster and better over time. If I make cake, operations is about making the cake.

The other mode is projects. This is the way an organisation handle what is new. It is doing something new and unknown — something they need to develop, to innovate, to stay relevant and to prosper also tomorrow. If I make cake, projects is about figuring out new ways of serving a customers sweet tooth with less hassle and maybe even in formerly unthinkable ways.

So it is though projects, not operations, that business innovation and change is driven. In fact, the only way organisations can change, implement a strategy, innovate or gain competitive advantage is through projects. Simply put: projects equal change.

In organisations today, we see a steep rise in number of project being done. This is a consequence of organisations trying to deal with all the change going on around them.

Most organisations can do operations really well. But they struggle to implement change through projects. Modern project leadership is the capability organisations should develop to be just as strong as their strength in operations – if not stronger.

“The forecast for most companies is continued chaos with a chance of disaster. The challenge is getting comfortable with it”
— Forbes editor-at-large, Geoffrey Colvin

You only get comfortable with change if you learn how to change. A good place to start would be learning how to do modern projects really well. Because projects equal change.