projects and programs—their most strategic initiatives—to be completed faster and more efficiently
than ever before, they are better positioned to thrive
in uncertain economic conditions. According to the
Pulse report, organizations can accomplish this by
establishing a five-part, self-reinforcing framework
consisting of supportive culture, strategic flexibility,
collective leadership, capable people and adaptive
process. (See “Rapid Reactions,” page 66.)
But the real challenge for organizations looking to
increase their agility is figuring out how to ingrain
these capabilities so deeply in the project culture
that they become second nature. There’s no getting
around the time and conscious effort this requires.
PREPARED FOR THE STORM
The difference between managing projects, programs and portfolios now compared to 10 years ago
is the speed at which change and risk management
capabilities have to be used, says Herb Payan, PMP,
senior vice president, digital strategies, Sony Music,
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA.
competitive disruption is business as usual. Just
look at the airline industry: In less than 15 years,
four upstart “super-connector” airlines—
Emirates, Qatar, Etihad and Turkish—have surpassed
the reach of formerly dominant carriers based in
Europe. And they’re beginning to move into the
traditional turf of U.S.-based airlines.
How to respond to aggressive competitors and
navigate volatile markets quickly and successfully is
the crux of organizational agility. No longer a buzz-word, agility is a must-have for project success in
rapidly evolving sectors—which these days is most.
“To be prepared for the future, you need both a cul-
ture and an organizational structure that provide the
flexibility needed in a changeable environment,” says
Jorge Alberto Pérez Torres, PMP, organization deputy
director at insurance firm Allianz, Mexico City, Mex-
ico. “The word ‘resilience’—the ability of a system to
cope with change—fits very well in this case.”
PMI’s 2015 Pulse of the Profession®: Capturing the
Value of Project Management Through Organiza-
tional Agility in-depth report found that 75 percent
of organizations with a highly developed culture of
agility are able to quickly respond to market condi-
tions, compared to 12 percent of organizations with
an underdeveloped culture of agility.
The contrast was similar with customer satisfaction ratings (85 percent compared to 23 percent).
Yet cultivating organizational agility isn’t easy.
Organizations aren’t monoliths; they’re made up of
people, and getting people to change their habits
of mind and behavior takes time and effort. When
organizations create a culture of agility that enables