Events of the last decade have changed the face of project management and as the environment in which projects find themselves in changes; project management will have to change to keep pace. Project managers who are able to accurately forecast demands for change and alter their plans to accommodate them will have an advantage over those who don’t. Before we gaze into the crystal ball, let’s take a look at the influences that have set project management on their current course.
The Great Y2K Scam
Rightly or wrongly, the IT world lost a lot of credibility when everyone turned their calendars forward to the year 2000. There were undoubtedly systems and applications out there that did require modification to accommodate the new millennium but the amount of money spent on Y2K programs could not be justified by the changes that were made. Every IT organization had some sort of Y2K program or other. Those organizations that were not large enough to afford an in-house program engaged consultants.
Every line of code in every simple project management software application and every data record in every database was reviewed for “compliancy”. This despite the fact that every commercially available system at that time recorded dates with a 4 character year format. Undoubtedly there were some applications and data tables which used a 2 digit field to hold year data. The original reason for using a 2 character field to record this information was the punch card and the cost of memory. 30 or 40 years prior to the year 2000 the extra effort to punch 2 more characters onto a data card and the cost of the extra memory the 4 character field would incur were a consideration. Anyone in the 80’s and 90’s creating new date fields should not have used a 2 character field and anyone upgrading an application or database should have converted the 2 character field to a 4 character field. Those applications and databases which failed to use the 4 character field were few and far between but large, expensive, Y2K programs were spawned nonetheless.
The impact on the public was even more ridiculous. Millions of dollars were spent on stocking up on everything from cashews to cash because of a perception that come January 1, 2000 no cash register or ATM would work. People were so spooked they stocked their cellars with food and water on a scale not seen since the bomb shelters of the cold war