Why blockchains will redefine project management

The word blockchain. Lines are connected in the background. [1]

What is blockchain

Blockchain was supposedly created by Satoshi Nakamoto as a simple system for recording information to make it as difficult as possible for unauthorised people to steal or destroy them. Technically, blockchain is a type of distributed ledger technology (DLT) where transactions are recorded with an immutable cryptographic signature, the hash. The ledger is also programmable to perform automatic real-time transactions.
Once a blockchain is added, it is recorded on multiple servers and can be accessed in real time from different terminals around the world for anyone to view. What makes it special is that the records are linked through anonymous, unique digital technologies, making it almost impossible for unauthorised people to make changes or steal data.
Because the technology is evolving so quickly, it is thought that there are now four main types of blockchain networks: public, private, permissioned and consortium.

What is project management

A project is an undertaking that is designed to combine the three key criteria of "time, resource and quality" to achieve a specific goal. Although there are several defined phases, the most commonly referred to being the ones defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI 1999), which includes five (5) phases: Concept and Proposal, Development, Implementation, Verification and Termination. It is important to note that there must be a beginning and an end, whether it is a single phase or multiple phases. There are many descriptions of this, as many accreditation bodies have developed models, required skills and techniques to determine the knowledge of their candidates. According to the Association of Project Managers (UK) "Project management is the application of processes, methods, skills, knowledge and experience to achieve specific project objectives according to the project acceptance criteria within agreed parameters. Project management has final deliverables that are constrained to a finite timescale and budget."
The Project Management Institute (USA) defines project management as follows: "Project management is the use of specific knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to deliver something of value to people. The development of software for an improved business process, the construction of a building, the relief effort after a natural disaster, the expansion of sales into a new geographic market - these are all examples of projects.

How blockchains will redefine project management

The foundation of any project is how well a contract is structured, documented and protected from unauthorised changes. Whether it is a verbal or written contract, the ability to refer to what was agreed in the pre-project phase, the project lifecycle and the contract management phase is critical to the success of project delivery.
In this way, blockchain will dramatically change project management. Documented contracts are recorded in digital codes and stored online in shared databases. These records are protected against anything that could interfere with the successful management of project portfolios. They are protected against deletion, manipulation, revision or access by unauthorised persons so that they cannot be misused. 
In simpler terms, in this scenario, every agreement, process, task and payment has a digital record and signature that can be identified, validated, stored and shared. In this way, "middlemen" would no longer be needed. Algorithm-driven servers would continuously transact and interact in real time, with no unauthorised interruptions.  This is the unquantifiable strength of the blockchain.


A blockchain is the sum of many parts, a multiple linkage of digital records on different servers that makes unauthorised access virtually impossible.  It consists of multiple points at which people involved in the project can communicate with others. The precursor was Satoshi Nakamoto's "gold coin", which morphed into "Bitcoin technology".  However, more and more people are realising how important blockchain will become for managing projects. One such notable and commendable initiative on this path is Russia's VEB Bank, which is looking into Blockchain project management and how this technology can be used to provide their financial services.

Blockchain will undoubtedly redefine project management and ultimately make it much more effective and efficient.
Author: Dr. Nana Sackey PhD is a Contract Portfolio Specialist with several years of experience in innovative contracting across shipping, telecoms, managing donor funded projects and academia. He is a Certified Agile Project Manager (IAPM), holds an M.Sc. in Procurement and a PhD in Contract Management. He has facilitated several corporate trainings in the past, focused on contract administration, cost estimation, spend analysis and risk management within contract portfolios. He remains committed to shaping the future of contract design, structure, analysis and management.
He is happily married to Debbie with whom he shares three kids – Iden, Ibby & Ilse – with.

Key words: Project management, Blockchain, Knowledge
[1] mmi9 / pixabay

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