The reform of the project activity state system (PASS) carried out in Russia in 2018–2019 is analyzed on the basis of its comparison with the system of institutions of catching-up development (ICD). The expediency of ICD implementation in modern conditions is confirmed by the experience of Malaysia and Tatarstan. Relying on the IСD system, Malaysia has been able to achieve rapid economic growth, reduce inequality and make significant strides in diversifying production. Due to a system of indicative planning and consolidation of elites, Tatarstan has become one of the most successful regions in Russia. The PASS that has been built to date, like the ICD system, brings the task of forming and selecting large-scale projects outside ministries and creates an institutional framework for indicative planning. The next task is to define more precisely the order of interactions between project offices, expert councils of different levels, private companies, and to develop a methodology for drawing up forecasts and plans of development indicators. Civil society and trade union representatives should be involved in these activities. Functions of PASS should be expanded, it is necessary to replenish the list of national projects. Largescale projects should be aimed at borrowing more advanced technologies, creating new value chains and diversifying the Russian economy. The government faces the task of promoting inter-regional and intercompany technology exchange. The «Science» project should be substantially redesigned, and a project on improving the national innovation system should be developed. It should include a system of sectorial research institutes as intermediaries between academic science and the research units of large firms. Ultimately, a Federal Agency for Development with broad credentials should be created, a system of rolling indicative planning should be formed, and all economic policies should be harmonized with the objectives of the plans.