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Project Management needs a Higher Purpose!

Access to resource related to solving global problems added to PMWL

11 January 2021 – Dallas, TX, USA – Access to a new resource related to project management for solving global problems has been added to the PM World Library.  The resource in an editorial titled “Project Management needs a Higher Purpose! Part 1: Introduction, the Perfect Storm, Crises & PM” by PM World Journal managing editor David Pells and published in the January 2021 edition of the PMWJ.

According to the author’s introduction, “This is a follow-on to my June 2020 editorial on black elephants. It’s a somewhat obvious extension and partial answer to the question posed at the end of the June editorial regarding ‘what to do about it’.  What can (or should) the project management professional world be doing to help address some (or all) of the charging black elephants, the looming global problems such as climate change, disease, hunger, homelessness, etc. These are my current thoughts on the matter but this is also something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time.

With the Covid-19 pandemic still raging around the world, and especially here in the United States, I also wanted to return to the Black Elephant question related to this health crisis.  The pandemic has also dramatically exacerbated such global problems as unemployment, poverty, hunger, access to education, inequality and others.  The Black Elephants have multiplied, grown larger and are moving faster.  Some, like the pandemic, seem to have morphed into a flock of Black Swans, at the national, local, program and project levels.

Meanwhile, climate change and global warming have continued.  We are also coming to the end of the current presidential administration in the United States, a period marked by corruption, incompetence and unethical behavior by those in powerful positions. The world’s oldest democracy has teetered on collapse as a large portion of the population seemed to be reverting to 19th century attitudes and behavior.  Perhaps more importantly, civil society itself seems to be at risk, as the rule of law has been threatened, institutions weakened, and social unrest exacerbated. History came alive as we studied the past and tried to predict the future. But what future do we want?

It is often difficult to step back, to consider the big picture or long-term consequences of current conditions or trends.  Nevertheless, we must occasionally do so.  As I’ve gotten older, I find myself thinking more about the history and future of the PM field, program and project life cycles, changes and trends in the world that affect our profession.

So now I ask again, what is the project management world doing in response to the current pandemic and other black elephants? What can we do, now or in the future?  What about the future? Obviously I don’t know everything, cannot predict the future, may be missing important information or contexts, may just be wrong.  But here are my thoughts.”

To read this article, visit the Solving Global Problems section of the PMWL at, click on “Global Initiatives”, scroll down to articles. Access is free, but please consider registering.