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Beyond The Iron Triangle: Year One [1]

SECOND EDITION

By Andrea Caccamese and Damiano Bragantini

Italy
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Abstract

Soft skills for the Project Manager have been traditionally identified as a set of cross-cutting skills that should complement the core job of establishing and maintaining reasonable tradeoffs among the elements of the traditional project management iron triangle. Soft skills have been put under the spot in the paper “Beyond the iron triangle: year zero”, which, rather, identified in project management the presence of “soft factors” and associated “constrained soft spaces”, among them the motivational space, the social ruling space and the analytic/holistic space. In that paper it was highlighted that the project manager needs to extend its integrative role also to “soft factors”, so that the traditional “iron triangle” is modified into a “hard-soft pyramid”, where “soft factors” are integrated into a constrained environment between themselves and with the traditional “hard factors”, like scope, time, cost and quality.

Project management can rely upon handy tools for dealing with “hard factors”: scope, time, cost and quality can be quantitatively defined and measured. But, what about “soft factors”? An integrative effort into “constrained soft spaces” needs similar tools to manipulate “soft factors”.

This paper is the result of a research effort aiming to identify viable taxonomies for “soft factors” in project management, along with proxies representing their qualitative/quantitative values, either when demanded by the single individual in the project team, or when provided by the project.

The paper identifies “soft spaces” and the “soft factors” that expand into “constrained soft spaces”. It provides a description of taxonomies for “soft factors”, identifies proxies and metrics, and defines a simple process that might be put in place in any project context where the integrative project management effort is extended from “hard factors” to “soft factors”.

Keywords: Human Resources Management; Constrained optimization; Soft Spaces

  1. Background

In the last three decades the issue of what constitutes project success has been debated, and many efforts have been done to provide the project manager with tools and techniques useful to pursue project management success. At the beginning the effort was focused upon tools and techniques related to the “iron triangle”, originally focused upon scope, quality, time and cost, and further integrated with tools and techniques focused upon uncertainty governance issues (Atkinson, 1999; Bernroider and Ivanov, 2011; Toor and Ogunlana, 2010).

Some steps ahead have been made in the direction to incorporate “soft” factors in the basis for project management success: “the project manager’s leadership style influences project success” and “different leadership styles are appropriate for different types of project” (Turner and Muller, 2006, p. 30).

In 2012 has been postulated the existence of a soft pyramid (Figure 1), in which the management of “soft” factors in a constrained environment should complement the traditional effort of managing “hard” factors in a constrained environment (the “iron triangle”), and that this should be reflected appropriately in project management methods (Caccamese, Bragantini, 2012).

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To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note:  Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2013.  It is republished here with the permission of the authors.


About the Authors

flag-italypmwj16-Nov2013-caccamese-bragantini-AUTHOR IMAGE CACCAMESEAndrea Caccamese

Italy

Andrea Caccamese is an Electronic Engineer with more than 30 years of work experience in Information Technology and in Management Consulting for  Banking, Finance, Insurance, Oil, Manufacturing, Defense, Software Development and Hardware Manufacturing sectors. Currently he is an independent Project Management Consultant and Trainer. Mr. Caccamese has gained extensive experience in Program and Project Management, working for or with large organizations or Customers from Banking, Finance, Insurance and Manufacturing, being the leader of several relevant Programs and Projects.

Andrea Caccamese is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute (PMI). He is also a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner and ITIL V3 Foundation Certified. He has been actively involved with  Project Management Institute (PMI) in the development of the standard for OPM3 (Organizational Project Management Maturity Model) Second Edition as a Sub-Team Leader, as a final Exposure Draft Reviewer and Contributor of PMBOK Fourth Edition, and as an Internal reviewer and final Exposure Draft Reviewer of PMBOK Fifth Edition. He has also been actively involved and is still involved with the local PMI Northern Italy Chapter, where he has been a contributor to some research projects. Mr. Caccamese is a frequent contributor and speaker at various Project Management events and is co-author of the preparatory text book for PMP Certification examination “Professione Project Manager”, and co-author of the text “Il ruolo del Project Manager”.   Andrea Caccamese can be reached at [email protected]

pmwj16-Nov2013-caccamese-bragantini-AUTHOR IMAGE BRAGANTINIflag-italyDamiano Bragantini

Italy

Damiano Bragantini is a Civil Engineer with more 15 years of experience in Civil Infrastructure and Information Technology experience. Currently he is working with Agsm Group, an important Italian utility in generation, distribution and supply of electricity and gas. Mr. Bragantini is also a recognized teacher at the University of Liverpool (UK) where he teaches in project management MSc.

Mr. Bragantini is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI). He has been also actively involved with Project Management Institute (PMI) as a final Exposure Draft Reviewer for Project Cost Estimating Standard and Practice Standard for Earned Value and as internal reviewer of PMBOK Fifth Edition. Mr.Bragantini has also been actively involved and is still involved with the local PMI Northern Italy Chapter, where he has been a contributor to some projects. Damiano Bragantini can be contacted at [email protected].


[1] Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English.  Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright.  This paper was originally presented at the 27th IPMA World Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia in October 2013.  It is republished here with the permission of the authors.