Project Management Vs. Innovation: Friends or Foes

innovationAny kind of control is typically viewed as a hindrance to innovation. Control generally isn't responsive, isn't forward thinking, and doesn't promote the risky behavior that can often lead to real and lasting benefit to the organization or individual. This relationship and problem between project management (control) and innovation is explored this Slideshare post by Tathagat Varma. Varma posits that we are living in “VUCA” times: volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. This can make people want to stay only within the safety of project management and not step out into innovation. However, all of your competitors are constantly finding innovations, so that business model will lead to, at best, stagnation- and at worst, failure. So how does an organization promote innovation while also maintaining project management processes. Varma explains that a particular method described in the book The Lean Startup explains how the principles of entrepreneurship, validated learning, innovation accounting and learning from mistakes. The focus is speed: code faster, measure faster, and learn faster to reduce the total time of the project while fostering innovation. Innovation may be the key to a volatile and ambiguous times, but that doesn't mean that smart organizations can't put steps in place to control and secure themselves against the mistakes that often come with innovation and creative thinking.

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