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Complication, complexity and uncertainty in the program/project context

FEATURED PAPER

By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia

 


 

INTRODUCTION

In an article in the last issue of this journal (Stretton 2017b) I was concerned with sources of complexity in the program/ project context. I broadly compared sources of complexity from eight different contributors, and attempted to align them under some broad categories, to come up with a draft basic checklist of such sources.

In the course of assembling that article, I came across three authors who made a sharp distinction between program/project complexity on the one hand, and complication on the other. This distinction appeared to me to be rather important when it comes to assessing the relevance of “traditional” project management standards to the management of complex projects. In following this up, a few associated connections emerged which I also found interesting, as will be recounted.

This rather exploratory article first discusses the above distinction, and a complication arising there-from. After noting how several authors relate complexity with uncertainty, we go on discuss some causal elements and management issues relating to program/project uncertainty, and thence, albeit indirectly, to complexity.

PROGRAM/PROJECT COMPLICATION, COMPLEXITY AND UNCERTAINTY

Distinguishing between complication and complexity

It is first noted that the two dictionaries consulted, namely The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and The Macquarie Concise Dictionary, do not appear to make any real distinction between complication and complexity. However, some writers on project management have found it useful to make such a distinction in the project/ program context, and we will now look at three of these.

Cooke-Davies 2016:263 has made the following distinction between complexity and complication in the context of programs.

It’s worth distinguishing between ‘complex’ and ‘complicated’. Something can be said to be complicated if it is composed of many interconnected and interrelated parts. Complexity, on the other hand, is related not only to the number of moving parts and how they relate to each other, but also the predictability of each part (and thus of the ability of the pieces to be melded together in ways that are foreseeable).

It is first noted that Cooke-Davies definition of complicated corresponds with the two dictionary’s definitions of both complicated and complex. Second, if I am interpreting the above quotation correctly, Cooke-Davies is saying that program complexity typically has associated elements of uncertainty.

Hayes 2016 also makes a distinction between complication and complexity. He says that Australia’s CSIRO identifies two properties that set a complex system apart from one that is merely complicated, as follows:

  • emergence – the appearance of behaviour that could not be anticipated from a knowledge of the parts of the system alone;
  • self-organization – where no external controller or planner is engineering the appearance of the emergent features

As defined here, emergence also appears to have the element of uncertainty – here associated with complex systems, and thence with complex programs/projects.

Parth 2016 also distinguishes between the two when he says that “Complexity is more than just being complicated”. He goes on to list seven sources of complexity (which have previously been listed in Stretton 2017b, Figure 7). Most of these sources of complexity have obvious and significant elements of uncertainty.

Parth’s listing was one of eight listings shown in Stretton 2017b, which in total covered some eighty sources of complexity. Most of these have significant, but varying, elements of uncertainty.

I will return to the topics of complexity and uncertainty shortly. Focusing for the moment on the difference between complication and complexity, the above three authors make a clear distinction between the two. However, this distinction is not necessarily as straight-forward as it might appear. Prieto 2015 says that such a distinction becomes invalid with very large programs/projects, as now discussed.

More…

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Editor’s note: This paper is by Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still tackling some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.

 


 

About the Author


Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)

 


Alan Stretton
is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 170 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at alanailene@bigpond.com.au.

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.

 

 

Collaboratism

FEATURED PAPER

A Solution to Declining Globalisation and Rising Protectionism

by Dr Pieter Steyn

South Africa

and

Dr Brane Semolic

Slovenia

 


Introduction

Globalisation has dominated economics and trade for decades. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines globalisation as: “the development of an increasingly integrated global economy marked especially by free trade, free flow of capital, and the tapping of cheaper foreign labour markets”. Many critics, including delegates attending the 2017 World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland, are of opinion that globalisation has flat-lined and is now going into reverse (Levy, 2016). This trend started with the financial crisis in 2008, and, now with the prospect of Brexit and President Trump having assumed office in the United States, globalisation is distinctly in decline. Moreover, critics believe that the world has reached a turning point in the nature of capitalism, a view also expressed by Steyn and Semolic (2016). At the same time, protectionism is rising in popularity.

In a note to clients, Jason Rotenberg and Jeff Amato (from Bridgewater, one of the world’s largest hedge funds) averred that the political backdrop in the world looks negative for globalisation and everything associated with it. Many critics believe that globalisation, competitiveness and internationalism are firmly in retreat, and that the protectionism now rearing its head does not augur well for the future. With the financial crisis of 2008 seen as the trigger of this phenomenon, many critics, including George Saravelos, chief foreign exchange strategist at Deutsche Bank, view the retreat as a new global mega-trend. Saravelos is of the opinion that globalisation has reached its peak and that the world is about to witness an unwinding of this trend, even labelling it as the slow death of globalisation.

Saravelos identifies three crucial aspects involved in the demise of globalisation. Firstly, he believes that world exports as a percentage of GDP peaked in 2014, having been in steady decline since then. Gross financial flows into the United States peaked in 2008 with the financial crisis, and are now moving sideways. Currently the number of new trade deals is at its lowest in more than two decades. Secondly, anti-globalisation sentiments are growing in the political domain. Brexit is set to be implemented in the foreseeable future, and the recent United States election was heavily focused on concerns related to globalisation and immigration, with other countries to follow. Thirdly, changes in regulation worldwide suggest that globalisation is waning. He mentions that China is slowing down on its capital account liberalisation programme, and changes in banking regulation have forced greater national reporting and capital standards, while raising the cost of cross-border business. The position of Deutsche Bank is that the only exception in the reversal of globalisation is the global dissemination of ideas, powered by political freedom and assisted by persistent innovations in technology, such as social networks.

Saravelos’ Deutsche Bank colleagues John Reid, Nick Burns and Sukanto Chanda, are of opinion that the current economic age is reaching its cul-de-sac. They believe that the global economy will change drastically over the decades to come, and that it will be subjected to subdued growth, lower profits, higher inflation, and diminishing global trade. Moreover, they argue that the world has reached a demographic peak and that huge changes will occur in the near future, predicting what they call “a far less exciting economy”. They contend that the deterioration will lead to a situation where it is unlikely that the next couple of decades will see real growth rates returning to the pre-crisis levels. They add, however, that should a sustainable exogenous boost to productivity surface, a more optimistic scenario may result, but they find it hard to see where such a boost will come from.

Like many other critics, George Osborne, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, believes that the forces of protectionism are increasing, and he is concerned that the pace of technology growth can be detrimental to economic well-being. The former vice-chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, Lord Adair Turner, is concerned that advances in technology are actually undermining capitalism, killing jobs, driving inequality and preventing the global economy from recovering from the financial crisis of 2008. He believes that the current capitalist system is not delivering as it should, and also not to enough people to maintain its legitimacy. He labels this “tech-driven inequality that contributed to the popular resentment for elites and mainstream politics”, and calls for a solution to “the problems presented by the new tech economy” to restore global trust in capitalism and repair the global economy.

At the recent 2017 World Economic Forum gathering in Davos Switzerland, the same sentiments as above were expressed, accompanied by major disagreement on what the solution should be. All admitted the failure of political and business elites to predict any of the political events that occurred during 2016, and even raised questions regarding their capability to understand and to address the anti-establishment trends and events that emerged. However, all were in agreement that change for the better should occur. This group included two Nobel-laureate economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Angus Deaton, who are very critical of the current European order.

More…

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About the Authors


Prof Dr Pieter Steyn

Founder, Director, Principal
Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management
Pretoria & Western Cape, South Africa

 


Dr
Pieter Steyn is Founder and Principal of Cranefield College of Project and Programme Management, a South African Council on Higher Education / Department of Education accredited and registered Private Higher Education Institution. The Institution offers an Advanced Certificate, Advanced Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Master’s degree, and PhD in project and programme-based leadership and management. Professor Steyn holds the degrees BSc (Eng), MBA, and PhD in management, and is a registered Professional Engineer.

He was formerly professor in the Department of Management, University of South Africa and Pretoria University Business School. He founded the Production Management Institute of South Africa, and in 1979 pioneered Project Management as a university subject at the post-graduate level at the University of South Africa.

Dr Steyn founded consulting engineering firm Steyn & Van Rensburg (SVR). Projects by SVR include First National Bank Head Office (Bank City), Standard Bank Head Office, Mandela Square Shopping Centre (in Johannesburg) as also, Game City- and The Wheel Shopping Centres (in Durban). He, inter alia, chaired the Commission of Enquiry into the Swaziland Civil Service; and acted as Programme Manager for the Strategic Transformation of the Gauteng Government’s Welfare Department and Corporate Core.

Pieter co-authored the “International Handbook of Production and Operations Management,” (Cassell, London, 1989, ed. Ray Wild) and is the author of many articles and papers on leadership and management. He is a member of the Association of Business Leadership, Industrial Engineering Institute, Engineering Association of South Africa, and Project Management South Africa (PMSA); and a former member of the Research Management Board of IPMA. He serves on the Editorial Board of the PM World Journal. Pieter is also Director of the De Doornkraal Wine Estate in Riversdale, Western Cape.

Professor Steyn can be contacted at cranefield1@cranefield.ac.za. For information about Cranefield College, visit http://www.cranefield.ac.za/.

To view other works by Pieter Steyn, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-pieter-steyn/

 


Prof Dr Brane Semolic

Founder and Head of LENS Living Lab –
International living laboratory
Celje, Slovenia




Brane Semolic studied mechanical engineering, engineering economics, and informatics; he holds a scientific master degree and doctorate from business informatics. His focus of professional interest is industrial and system engineering, innovation and technology management, virtual organizations and systems, project and knowledge management. He has 40 years of working experiences in different industries (industrial engineering, IT, chemicals, household appliances, government, and education), as an expert, researcher, manager, entrepreneur, counselor to the Slovenian government and professor.  He operates as head of the open research and innovation organization LENS Living Lab. LENS Living Lab is an international industry-driven virtual living laboratory. He is acting as initiator and coordinator of various research and innovation collaboration platforms, programs and projects for the needs of different industries (ICT, robotics, laser additive manufacturing, logistics, education). He was co-founder and the first director of the TCS – Toolmakers Cluster of Slovenia (EU automotive industry suppliers). Since 2004 he is serving as the president of the TCS council of experts. Besides this, he is operating as a part-time professor at the Cranefield College.

He was head of project and information systems laboratory at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Head of the Project & Technology Management Institute at the Faculty of Logistics, University of Maribor and professor of project and technology management at the graduate and postgraduate level. He acted as a trainer at the International »European Project Manager« post-graduated program, organized jointly by the University of Bremen.

He was the co-founder and president of the Project Management Association of Slovenia (ZPM), vice president of IPMA (International Project Management Association), chairman of the IPMA Research Management Board (2005-2012), and technical vice-chairman of ICEC (International Cost Engineering Council).  Now he is serving as a director of the IPMA & ICEC strategic alliance. He actively participated in the development of the IPMA 4-level project managers’ certification program. He introduced and was the first director of the IPMA certification program in Slovenia. He has been serving as the assessor in this certification program since 1997. He performed as assessor in the IPMA International PM Excellence Award Program in China, India, and Slovenia.

He is a registered assessor for the accreditation of education programs and education organizations by the EU-Slovenian Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

He was a Member of Strategic Advisory Board of European Competitiveness and Innovation, as well as the president of the Slovenian Chamber of Business Services.

He got the award as ICEC Distinguished International Fellow in 2008. He received the »Silver Sign« for his achievements in research, education, and collaboration with the industry from the University of Maribor in 2015.

Professor Semolic is also an academic advisor for the PM World Journal. He can be contacted at brane.semolic@3-lab.eu.   Additional information about the LENS Living Lab can be found at http://www.3-lab.eu/ .

 

 

Project Management Practices: Version 1.0 vs 2.0

FEATURED PAPER

By Priti Asthana

Pennsylvania, USA

 


 

ABSTRACT

Project Management 1.0 techniques have been proven effective during early 1970’s for managing large projects in the commercial industries like construction & pharmaceuticals when the economy and technology were stable (Raymond E. Levitt (2011). However as the technology rapidly advanced, these practices and methodologies seem to be ineffective. PM 2.0 methodology was evolved to overcome some limitations and challenges faced with PM 1.0 practices. The tools and methodologies with PM 2.0 are structured more to adapt the agility of environments and technologies. The paper reviews the evolution of PM 1.0 and PM 2.0 and discusses its strengths and weaknesses.

KEYWORDS:

Project Management, PM 1.0, PM 2.0, agile, governance, Project Management practices

INTRODUCTION

The role of project manager has evolved in the recent past. Traditionally, a project manager strictly served the purpose of coordinating the execution of easy-to-understand activities typically availed in the form of a worksheet at the start of the project. The project manager would embrace an agenda consisting of tasks deliverable within set timelines. As such, the traditional manager never conducted project due diligence, participated in the process of project approval or confirmation of the strategic value of the items contained in the worksheet just to justify undertaking a project (Konstantopoulos, 2010). Therefore, the key role of a traditional project manager was to deliver the items found in the checklist within the set time.

Today, the role of a project manager has changed. Project managers today must holistically diagnose the prevailing internal and external environments of the organization and present facts to justify the need for a project before its initiation. Most often, project managers today are engaged in the business justification for carrying out a project, proposition of solutions that will meet business needs and determination of the executable tasks needed to create the proposed product.

The already established project management practices are referred to as PM 1.0 and the new management practice age referred to as PM 2.0. Advances in technology and flow of information have proved that PM 1.0 is ineffective methodology to manage most projects in the modern age. This has led to the development of new project management ways, PM 2.0, which centers on new project management techniques, good project governance, increased engagement with project stakeholders, and other important information reporting by means of metrics, key performance indicators (KPIs) and dashboards (Microsoft Inc., n.d). This paper will compare and contrast PM 1.0 and PM 2.0 practices, and thereafter suggest the way forward.

More…

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About the Author


Priti Asthana, PMP

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

 

 

Priti Asthana has more than 10 years of information technology management experience with focus in project management, leadership, design and development for diverse industries. She is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Informatica Developer. She is an expert in information systems technology, project planning, strategic planning, systems analysis and troubleshooting, quality control, forecasting, scheduling and planning, and tracking of results. Priti is highly knowledgeable in software development, requirements analysis, data warehouse architecture, ETL and database design, and excel, and at creating and implementing technical and operational plans and strategies. Priti Asthana can be contacted at pritiasthana@gmail.com

 

 

Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project

FEATURED PAPER

Situational Analysis of Time and Cost Performance of World Bank-assisted Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Project (LEEMP) in Imo State, Nigeria

Akpan, E.O.P. , Echeme, I.I. , Ubani, E.C.

Department of Project Management Technology

Federal University of Technology

Owerri, Nigeria


Abstract                                                                         

The major problem facing many developing economies has been the issue of rural migration to urban centres in search for better standard of living. Efforts at curtailing this trend have centred on provision of basic amenities in partnership with some donor agencies, the World Bank being the major partner. In the light of this, it is important to undertake the analysis of the performance of the World Bank-assisted Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Projects (LEEMP) in Imo State as to the success or failure of this intervention. The aim basically is to assess the performance of these projects with regards to cost and schedule requirements and the possible causes of variation, if any. Earned value analysis (EVA) model was the major tool used for the project monitoring and it was also used to analyze the performance of these projects between 2004 and 2008. Fourteen completed projects and thirty-eight uncompleted ones were selected for the analysis using stratified random sampling. The analysis revealed that most of the projects show some elements of “fatigue” as they experienced cost and time overrun. This problem seems to come from funding arrangement which appears in the form of funding gap and timing.                        

Keywords: World Bank, rural development, LEEMP, cost and time performance, earned value analysis.

  1. Introduction

Community or rural change is an on-going global phenomenon which commands the attention of policy makers in virtually all the nations of the world. It embraces the myriad of adjustments in the areas of economic, social, and infrastructural provisions in the rural areas under the impact of development. The pace of rural development has quickened in recent times, primarily with respect to industrialization, urbanization, development in communication and transportation, technology transformation in agriculture, education, land reform, politics and social revolution. Some rural areas have experienced more changes/development in the recent past than in the previous centuries (World Bank, 2008).

Recent discussions among the developing nations seem to revolve around the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Various efforts have been made by governments and international organizations to develop the rural areas in order to achieve these objectives. The need to assess the level of project performance of World Bank-assisted programmes in Nigeria tagged “Local Empowerment and Environmental Management Projects (LEEMP) with regards to cost, schedule requirements and possible causes of variation, if any necessitated this study.

International debate on the need for total development in developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, has centered on economic restructuring with emphasis on strengthening the rural areas through infrastructural development, capacity building, and so on. This is based on the fact that the objective function on national development has rural development as a dominant factor with very high level of correlation (Nwachukwu, 2003).

Recently, the state of poor development project delivery of less developed countries (LCDs) and the extent to which this has created problems of underdevelopment in these economies have been of general concern. Many scholars have associated this with poor project management principles which are bedeviling Nigeria, with particular reference to low technical, technological and managerial capacity to implement projects effectively (Okereke, 1995; Olayide, 1999 and FMWR, 2003).

To achieve the needed development, the World Bank has been collaborating with the Federal Government of Nigeria in the development of the country through the implementation of development programmes. The World Bank has planned to achieve all these by establishing development agencies across many countries among which is the LEEMPs, a programme to tackle various problems of development in Nigeria and other developing countries. The main goal of this World Bank agency is to strengthen the rural communities through the provision of infrastructure to improve the social and economic wellbeing of the people. In order to realize this goal, the World Bank adopted the Community Driven Development (CDD) approach, LEEMP being one of them in the planning and implementation of its development projects. With this approach, the benefitting communities champion their developmental agenda by identifying and prioritizing their needs, deciding and preparing the projects required to address the identified needs, co-financing the projects, continuing to operate and maintain the project, thereby ensuring sustainability, and learn to do things for themselves and in so doing build their capacities and ownership of the projects are guaranteed by active participation of beneficiaries in all phases of the project life cycle. The funding pattern used is 90% contribution from the World Bank (LEEMP) and 10% from the community of the total project cost.

More…

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About The Authors


Ibeawuchi Ifeanyi Echeme

Owerri, Nigeria

 



Ifeanyi Echeme
is a lecturer in the department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri. Echeme has a B.Tech, MSc, and PhD in Project Management Technology and has published more than fifteen (15) articles in both international and national reputable journals. Dr. Echeme has published a textbook on Project Time, Cost and Quality Management. He is a Certified Project Director (CPD) and a member of International Project Management Professionals (IPMP). Dr. Echeme has presented papers in conferences and workshops within and outside Nigeria. He can be contacted through; ibeecheme@yahoo.com

Tel +2348032403835.

 


Edem Okon Peter Akpan

Ikot Akpaden, Nigeria




Edem Okon Peter Akpan
is a distinguished figure in the field of Industrial Engineering, Project Management and Information Technology. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, Nigeria. He read and obtained a BSc(Hons) degree in Management & Engineering Production from University of Wales, Institute of Science & Technology (UWIST), an MSc in Production Technology & Production Management and a PhD in Industrial Technology from Universities of Aston in Birmingham, Birmingham and Bradford respectively. He has published widely in both local and international journals and for this recognition has since been honoured to join many editorial boards including among others, the International Journal of Production Planning & Control published by Taylor & Francis, London, Reviewer of the Journal of Construction Engineering & Management of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He is a registered engineer with COREN, a member with Nigerian Society of Engineers (MNSE) and many other professional bodies. Professor Akpan can be reached at eopakpan@yahoo.com

 

 
Emmanuel C. Ubani

Owerri, Nigeria

 


Emmanuel C. Ubani
is a Reader in the Department of Project Management Technology, Federal University of Technology, Owerri Nigeria. He holds B.Sc., M.Eng in Industrial Engineering and a Ph.D IN Project Management Technology. He has researched and published a lot of articles in both local and international reputable journals. His research interest is in areas of Industrial System Design and Project Planning and Control. He can be reached through +234 8037748978.

 

 

On the Big Reverse

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

On the subject of the December PMWJ editorial titled “The Big Reverse: Politics, Anti-leadership and the Looming Threat to Professionalism” 

16 February 2017

Dear David,

Thank you for tackling this ‘elephant in the room’ as it relates to our project management profession. I for one completely agree with everything that you have stated regarding the USA’s President Trump’s actions, words, policies and administration. It is obvious that the USA system of government will be severely tested this year and for the foreseeable future, and I retain my optimism that we will emerge stronger ethically and morally as a result of the experiences that will without doubt be like nothing we have ever seen before. I believe that the social media that have enabled this to happen will provide the visibility, transparency, and concerted actions that are needed to overcome the threat.

Any of us, whether executives, project managers, or project team members, whether we are in companies, governmental agencies, universities, or work as independent consultants, have faced the ‘politics’ of bureaucracies large and small. Many of us have seen first-hand the dishonesty, duplicity, hypocrisy, and the several ‘-isms’ that now seem to be rampant in parts of the USA and some other societies. Some have chosen at times to change their employment as a result of that experience, but it is much more difficult to change one’s citizenship. What is truly amazing is that this is happening at the highest levels of the USA federal government. Since I have chosen to live in Mexico as a USA citizen for the past 23 years I have a different perspective than many of what is happening. I am convinced that the testing that is now under way between the USA and Mexico will ultimately benefit Mexico very significantly.

It is more important than ever for each of us, no matter where we reside or what citizenship we hold, that we adhere to our professional, ethical, and moral standards in our personal lives as well as our project management lives.

Sincerely,

Russell D. Archibald

PhD (Hon), MSc, PMI Fellow, APM-UK Honorary Fellow, PMP, PMI Member No. 6

http://russarchibald.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/russarchibald

Mexico

 

 

Project Leadership, 3rd Edition

BOOK REVIEW

Book Title:   Project Leadership, 3rd Edition
Author: Sarah Coleman and Donnie MacNicol
Publisher:  Gower / Routledge
List Price:   $54.95
Format: Soft cover, 318 pages
Publication Date:   2016    
ISBN: 978-1-4724-5280-1
Reviewer:     John Holderman, PMP, MBA
Review Date: January 2017

 


Introduction

When I first picked up this book I thought it would be another book about general project management. The first chapter convinced me otherwise. Schools teach the mechanics of project management, most books describe tools and their use. This book goes far beyond the basics. It gets into the things that increase success, leadership.

The authors don’t focus on strategy; they focus on building a strong self and more reliable capabilities. I applaud the authors on the quest to increase positive outcomes though true leadership.

Overview of Book’s Structure

This book has four parts. Part one: Project Leadership and the Project Leader define the difference between a project manager and a project leader. What leadership is, building and maintaining relationships.

Part two. Leading the project: talks about what it takes to lead a project from beginning to end. Part three. The Core: discusses the keys parts of leadership in project management like vision and what relationships are important and the ever present communication.

Part four. Building personal and organizational capability: Covey would have called this Sharpening the Saw. It’s all about extending your range and improving the organizations abilities, which in-turn improves you.

Highlights

I’m a sucker for personal assessments and this book hits you right up front with them. They briefly discuss emotional intelligence and leadership. The eight lookings assessment evaluates your current focus on eight directions a PM must pay attention to: Upwards, downwards, forward, backwards, outwards, inwards, internally and externally.

The authors reference these assessments and their importance throughout the book. The root of this book is based in self-improvement and being able to lead people, which will ultimately ensure successful trajectory for your projects and your career.

More…

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About the Reviewer


John Holderman

Texas, USA

 

 

John Holderman has worked in project management since 1997 with his most recent work in program management controls and reporting. John has managed the global implementation of UNIX server farms used in telecommunications and large, complex telephone switching systems. As a member of a new product introduction team he guided deployment team readiness and working closely with engineering team to ensure the product or customer ready.

John has supported many global communications system deployments, has been an integral part of two electro-mechanical to digital telephone system conversions, authored policy documents for specialized teams, installation manuals, commisioning manuals and has created many of his own tools used to manage projects. John’s technical background along with his international project management experience gives him a unique ability to very effectively manage highly complex technical projects.

John can be contacted at jmholdermn@yahoo.com

 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.net

 

 

Situational Project Management

BOOK REVIEW

Book Title:   Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of success and failure.
Author: Oliver F. Lehmann
Publisher: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group.
List Price:   $79.95 USA
Format: Hard Cover, 274 pages
Publication Date: July 2016  
ISBN: 13-978-1-4987-2261-2
Reviewer:     Jorge Galvan, PMP         
Review Date: January 2017

 


Introduction

Situational Project Management (SitPM) is a concept that I have barely heard of or thought about during my project management training and in subsequent PMI certification; the PMBOK 5th Edition doesn’t mention it much.

The book uses the approach of seeing projects with its traditional adjectives such as being unique, temporary, undertaken to deliver a product, service or result, but with the peculiarity of being situational. Said that, it emphasizes very well throughout the book that the concept of “one size fits all” might not be real and even less practical when one is about to embark into the uncertainties of a project, and that so called best practices are dependent upon the situation.

It carries us through a series of known project management concepts and traditional practices towards the core of where situational approaches must be applied. It contains, explains and exemplifies interesting theoretical models that can be applied for some specific project management situations to keep a project under control.

Next the author takes us to his situational project management by first structuring a topology of projects that will be used to define the type of project we are about to undertake and thus the methodology that fits best for a successful outcome.

The introductory questions at the beginning of each chapter takes the opposite approach than some PM books with questions at the end, to my perspective it has pros and cons but personally prefer the question at the end.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The structure of the book looks fine and takes the reader to gradual but sometimes not that clear path to the place the author intends to.

After a little too long introductory chapter and then going deeper in chapter two, it starts the interesting part of the book, what one expects from it. Chapter three to me is the most interesting section, would be better if more diverse examples were shown and in major quantity.

The chapter about practices for SitPM would benefit if it gets extended; from my perspective I expected it to go deeper on some of the methodologies and examples but unfortunately is the shortest chapter.

The last two chapters of the book are also very well thought out and structured, talks about basic tools for SitPM and leadership and the Dynamics of Success and Failure (this one that I personally liked very much and again would have loved to get it extended), and it seems to be a good end for the main topic of the book that is Situational Project Management.

Highlights

The real examples that the author makes reference to are a clear and nice way to show the reader what is being exposed. As a reader I love to assimilate and understand my lecture when I can relate it to real life examples.

The topology the author makes of projects seems very practical and useful for the critical part of deciding how to manage and conduct a project to a successful ending.

The small talk of waterfall and agile methodologies are very welcome, just needed to be extended a little longer to my perspective.

More…

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About the Reviewer


Jorge Galvan, PMP

Texas, USA

 

 

Jorge Galvan has extensive experience in the telecom industry working as a software, hardware and infrastructure Engineer for both Core and Radio systems. He has a bachelor’s degree in Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering with a minor in Control. He has over 10 years of experience working with projects in different parts of the world and performing different roles such as project team member or technical engineer, as well as project coordinator and SME.

Extensive experience includes different phases of software development projects from feasibility to testing and deployment. Jorge is a member of the Project Management Institute, Dallas Chapter and obtained his PMP certification from PMI in July 2016. He can be contacted at IamJorgeGalvan@gmail.com.

 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.net.

 

 

What Exactly is Your Project?

Welcome to the March 2017 PMWJ

The Growing Importance of Categorization, Context and Typology in Project Management – – and Welcome to the February 2017 Edition of the PM World Journal

David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA

 


Welcome to the March 2017 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ). This 56th edition continues to reflect the international nature of this publication; 32 original articles, papers and other works by 41 different authors in 21 different countries are included this month. News articles about projects and project management around the world are also included. Since the primary mission of this journal is to support the global sharing of knowledge, please share this month’s edition with others in your network, wherever in the world they may be.

Since last August, on the recommendation of several respected advisors, I have been using this opportunity to mention new trends or important issues that I see as journal editor. This month I want to discuss an emerging set of nagging questions: if every project is truly unique (Most definitions of a project seem to include the word “unique”), how practically useful are general bodies of knowledge, standards and qualifications? How real or applicable are “best practices” in project management (PM)? Why aren’t the now acknowledged millions of people working on projects around the world flocking to PM education, certifications and organizations? Why don’t more senior executives jump on the PM band wagon when so many of their projects are of real strategic importance?

When I first entered the PM field in the 1970s, I learned about the work breakdown structure (WBS) and WBS dictionary (scope), critical path planning (schedule), resource estimating and planning (cost), and quality (this was on a nuclear power plant). Risk was addressed with contingencies and reserves; communication, leadership and soft skills were just part of the job, with managers attending some internal courses. I knew the type of project was different from those in other industries and organizations, but these were not considerations we worried about.

In the 1980s I got involved with the Project Management Institute (PMI), joining a chapter, then founding and serving as a chapter president. We brought people from various organizations and projects together to share information. I bought into a common PM body of knowledge, terminology, standards and certifications. During the 1990s I was in the forefront of PMI’s specific interest group (SIG) initiative as a SIG founder and chair. I began to recognize some differentiation for projects and project management as PMI members with different interests began to congregate and collaborate. New standards emerged for some industries, for example, construction and information technology (IT). Still, the commitment to a common set of concepts, principles and standards remained the rule.

Now in the 21st century, as the PM professional field has grown worldwide while the failure rate of projects has remained relatively constant, there seems to be an emerging realization that the “one-size-fits-all” approach may not be enough. Diversity seems to be emerging as the rule rather than the exception in the PM world. Just as there are vast numbers and types of projects around the world, there are vast numbers of unique differences. Project categories, either industry, geography or other distinctions, and project types are receiving new emphasis for describing and studying projects and programs. Context is also growing in importance.

What exactly is your project?

I now think that the word “unique” deserves more attention, and a better understanding of unique project factors may hold the secret to achieving more project success. Understanding the category, type and context of one’s project could dramatically improve the ability to plan, identify critical risks and success factors, avoid pitfalls and create value.

Below are a few comments about these three aspects of project characterization, not in depth as there’s not enough space here – others have already addressed these topics much better than I can. Also included are some comments about Situational Project Management, a topic introduced by Oliver Lehmann in his good recent book. [6]

More…

To read entire paper, click here

 


 

About the Author

 


David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL

 

 

David L. Pells is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (http://www.pmworldjournal.net/) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (http://www.pmworldlibrary.net/). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice. He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world.

David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); and Russian Project Management Association. Since 2010 he is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal. From June 2006 until March 2012, he was the managing editor of PM World Today. He occasionally provides high level advisory services for major programs, global organizations and the U.S. federal government. David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and a Master’s degree in business from Idaho State University in the USA. He has published widely, spoken at conferences and events worldwide, and can be contacted at editor@pmworldjournal.net

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/

 

 

What I learned from a Failed Project

PERSONAL STORY

By Fred Fanning

Washington, DC area

USA

 


Introduction

Several years ago, the author was a portfolio executive for administrative programs. One of those programs was automated Travel Management Services. When he took the position, there was a task to implement an automated travel management system that was over a year behind schedule. The organization purchased the travel management system, and the company was trying to implement it against the wishes of the organization. The parent organization required all subordinate organizations to move to automated travel management. However, there were many in his organization that didn’t want this to occur. The resistance was two-fold. Many liked the old travel management systems they were using and didn’t want to change. Secondly, the financial staff did not want the travel management systems to connect to the financial management system because they were afraid this would lead to unauthorized access to financial information. The failure to implement this system had already cost two people their jobs.

Project Scope

The fully automated system was to have all transactions done over the web using any personal computer with appropriate passwords and authentications for security. The travel management system was also to connect with the organization’s financial management system so that travel reservation would be paid immediately and when an employee returned from travel they could file an electronically voucher and have the money deposited in their bank account.

Project Experience

When the author took over the portfolio, he hired a program manager and travel manager to oversee the work of organization’s project manager and the travel company’s project manager. To offset some of the resistance to the program the team proposed a pilot to their senior official, and he approved. The pilot was run for several months and appeared to work well. The team briefed the senior staff members, and they agreed the team should move forward with the project. After that, the author found out that there was an issue. The program manager and travel manager ran the pilot without connecting the travel system and the financial management system. The author does not find this out for nearly a year. The entire pilot was a fake.

The author was shocked to find the program and travel managers had not executed the pilot just as the final project would require. The program and travel managers said the reason for their failure was that the financial manager would not let them connect to the financial management system. The author later found out this was not the first time that this had happened. After several meetings with the financial manager, they agreed to a lengthy process of developing the interface that would allow the travel management system and the financial management system to communicate with each other. No other work on the project could proceed without this step.

To develop this, interface the team used the project management waterfall process. This plan included developing a requirements document for the interface. That document took nearly a year to develop. Of course, the team ran into more difficulty from the financial staff who had made changes to their financial management system while the team wrote the requirements document. Those changes made the requirements document incomplete. When the author left that job a year and a half later, the team was still not able to implement an interface between the two systems. Furthermore, nearly five years after there was no interface.

The author had to answer for the failed project, and it negatively affected his career. He was not the first person this had happened to, and he probably wouldn’t be the last. Since that time, he has continued to manage programs and projects although never an automated system. He can honestly say that the travel management system project was the only one that he did not complete.

Alternative Project Methods

The members of my team were trained in what the author would call the “classical method” of project management as outlined in the Project Management Institute’s Body of Knowledge. The method had always led to successful projects. Even after this failure, the author went back to using the classical method. As you can imagine he second guessed himself on the travel management project for years after. At the same time, he continued to read about project management and kept his training up to renew the PMP certification. Along the way, he learned about Agile Project Management from the Project Management Institutes website. As he read and learned more about it, he realized that the SCRUM method would have been the right method to have used on the interface between the travel and financial management systems. The author says this because the SCRUM methodology could have allowed the team to perform several sprints that completed specific tasks from the product backlog. He thinks this would have enabled the team to encourage the financial management staff to take another step. Once the team took enough steps, the interface would have been complete.

More…

To read entire story, click here

 


 

About the Author



Fred Fanning, PMP

Washington, DC area, USA

 


Fred Fanning
worked for over 32 years as a Program and Project Manager for the U.S. Government. He has peer reviewed books published by the American Society of Safety engineers. Fred has also written several other paperbacks and ebooks. His book Project Management for Safety Professionals was published by Kindle Direct Publishing in December 2016. He also has over fifty articles published in various journals and periodicals. His articles on project management have appeard in the PMWorld Journal; Organization, Technology and Management in Construction · an International Journal; and the PMI GovCOP Magazine.

He currently holds the Project Management Professional certification. Fred served as the Communications Lead for the Government Community of Practice of the Project Management Institute from May 2013 through December 2014. Fred has also spoken at national conferences on project management. Fred earned master’s degrees from National-Louis University and Webster University.

You can contact him at fredefanning@gmail.com or visit his website at https://fredefanningauthor.com/home/

 

 

Driven by Difference

BOOK REVIEW

Book Title: Driven by Difference: How Great Companies Fuel Innovation Through Diversity
Author: David Livermore
Publisher: American Management Association
List Price:   $23.75
Format: Hard cover, 240 pages
Publication Date: Feb 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8144-3653-0
Reviewer:     Khlood Elsayed, PMP
Review Date: 01/2017

 


Introduction

Businesses are told to celebrate and embrace diversity in the workplace with the promise of new perspectives, innovation and greater success. Yet in far too many cases these promises are not being realized. This book looks at the problem from different angles/prisms and offers practical solutions. If you’re expecting to see a cookbook recipe for how to magically transform your organization overnight, you’d be sorely disappointed.

As the author emphasizes throughout the book, this is by no means a simple process that can be implemented overnight, yet neither is it an insurmountable problem. There may be many tears and much frustration along the way, made worse by a possible class of cultures and beliefs, yet there can be light at the end of the tunnel. In any case, the author makes a compelling, persuasive argument and has kept hyperbole and impossible dreams at bay with this book. Just mixing up groups of people does not automatically lead to any innovation or improvement, yet a careful nurturing of a diverse group can bring additional perspectives, values, opinions and experiences to the party that itself can lead to better things being developed. Although for this to work, it does need a supporting and nurturing culture to underline it.

Overview of Book’s Structure

I really appreciated the smooth transition from one chapter to another. The first chapter, Diversity, helps you level set.

Chapter one describes, in great detail, what diversity is and what it isn’t. The author emphasizes the “kind” of diversity that matters most to your company’s culture.

Chapter two takes a deeper dive into our ability, as human beings, to spot differences “Diversity”, and how culture plays an important role to in shaping/defining what we pay attention to. Being more in tune with your own biases is very key. This will help you capitalize on the diversity that promotes innovation in your company.

Chapter three builds on Chapter two, it goes a step further to underscore the importance of “Prospective taking”.

Chapter four and five emphasize the importance of being in tune with your brain’s activity, knowing when you’re likely going to do some creative thinking/focus (surroundings and scenarios). The impact of multi-tasking.

Chapter six expounds on the relationship between “trust”, likeability and your ability to influence decisions. It covers the different trust ingredients: likeability, competency, intentions, reliability, reputation, etc. And how to galvanize trust to build team competence to drive results.

Chapter seven and eight offer some tried and true tools and techniques to help you set the right conditions for diversity to bring your company forward (innovate) and not be a setback.

Highlights

I particularly appreciated the author’s real-life examples drawn from his own experience and other Fortune 500 companies.

The book is a great read. It brings to focus the different personalities and how if your own biases if left unchecked, can cause competitive/innovative ideas and work styles to get out of focus.

More…

To read entire Book Review, click here

 


 

About the Reviewer


Khlood Elsayed, PMP

Egypt & USA

 

 

Khlood Elsayed is an enthusiastic life-long learner who likes biking. A proud member of the PMI Dallas Chapter, Khlood holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Foreign Trade from Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt. She now resides in north Texas.

 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.net

 

 

The Trust Factor

BOOK REVIEW

Book Title:   The Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies
Author: Paul J. Zak
Publisher: AMACON
List Price:   $24.00
Format: Hardcover
Publication Date: Jan 2017        
ISBN: 9780814437667
Reviewer:     Art Pratt, PMP       
Review Date: Feb/2017

 


Introduction

Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies is focused on cultural soft skills at the organization level. The book summarizes multiple years of scientific research into empathy using the release of Oxytocin as the indicator. The Author, Paul Zak, uses his research into empathy to identify key factors that develop employee trust which leads to better organizational performance.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Paul Zak uses the letters of his “trust molecule”, O-X-Y-T-O-C-I-N, to describe eight factors that build trust: Ovation: recognizing colleagues and celebrating success; eXpectation: defining goals and challenging teams; Yield: yielding project control to the team; Transfer: self-direction and leadership; Openness: transparency; Caring: care and support of colleagues; Invest: career investment; Natural: honesty and vulnerability with. Each factor is a separate chapter in the book.

He completes the book by adding two chapters on purpose and performance. When trust is combined with purpose, joy in the workplace is created.   In the final chapter, a survey method to assess trust against the eight factors, Ofactor Survey, is presented with a case study. Each chapter includes supporting anecdotes and examples from recognized companies ending with a to-do list to implement each policy intervention.

Highlights

By building on years of scientific research in brain chemistry the author has identified the positive and negative organizational factors for the hormone oxytocin. Organizing these factors and comparing them with high-performing corporate cultures the author chronicles implementation of each factor and its impact on an organization. Each of the O-X-Y-T-O-C-I-N factors, are presented in what is likely a priority order for many organizations and while these factors can stand alone, subsequent factors build upon and interact with previous factors.

In a trusting culture adding in purpose can lead to joy in the workplace and a high-performance culture. Developing a purpose narrative was shown to be a unifying element in advancing company culture and performance. In the final chapter, a survey method to assess trust against the eight factors, Ofactor Survey, is presented with a case study. With the anecdotal evidence presented throughout the book along with lists at the end of each chapter, actionable ideas are plentiful.

More…

To read entire Book Review, click here

 


 

About the Reviewer


Art Pratt, PMP

Madison WI, USA

 

 

Art Pratt has worked as a project manager since 2000. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a Project Management Professional Certification working in development programs in the Medical Device/Pharmaceutical industry. Art is a member of the Madison, WI PMI Chapter.

LinkedIn: Art Pratt

 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.net.

 

 

Net Present Value and Risk Modelling For Projects

BOOK REVIEW

Book Title:   Net Present Value and Risk Modelling For Projects
Author: Martin Hopkinson
Publisher: Routledge – Taylor & Francis Group
List Price:   $54.95
Format: Soft cover, 168 pages
Publication Date:  2016    
ISBN: 9781472457967
Reviewer:     Ash Jantrania
Review Date: Feb 2017


Introduction

During the project selection process, we need to make the right decision on determining project feasibility.

In order to do this, we need to perform the cost-benefit analysis by forecasting a financial number of a project’s benefits. The Net Present Value (NPV) is traditionally used to arrive at this number. The book suggests conducting NPV risk modelling for better visibility.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The Net Present Value (NPV) forecast forms core of the business case on majority of projects. The author explains when and how the NPV model approach can be integrated with the risk management process.

At the beginning of the project life cycle, when uncertainty is at its highest and when the opportunities to influence the project’s plan are at their greatest, NPV models are typically used.

The author has highlighted how an integrated approach of combining project financial forecasting and risk management principles can be used to improve NPV forecast numbers.

Highlights

The book provides an understanding to the foundation concepts and advantages of using Net Present Value approach, its calculation with detailed illustrations.

The author Martin Hopkinson has provided interesting worked examples, comparisons and limitations of financial modelling approaches to evaluate a project’s feasibility.

A detailed explanation of Discount Rates, Internal Rate of Return (IRR) Payback Periods and Developing a Net Present Value Model has also been provided with examples as well as graphical illustrations.

More…

To read entire Book Review, click here

 


 

About the Reviewer


Ash Jantrania

North Texas, USA

 


Jantrania, PMP, CSM, Six Sigma Green Belt
is a seasoned Project Manager based in the Dallas Fort Worth area of north Texas, USA. He has extensive Project Management and Business / Systems analysis experience in Telecom, Transport, Mortgage Banking, Health, E-Commerce, Retail & Non Profit organizations. Ash holds PMP, Scrum Master and Six Sigma certifications and has comprehensive knowledge of project management in both Waterfall and Agile/Scrum methodologies. He can be contacted at ajant1@yahoo.com.

 

Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact editor@pmworldjournal.net.