Effective Complex Project Management


pmwj34-May2015-Quandt-BOOKBook Title:   Effective Complex Project Management: An Adaptive Agile Framework for Delivering Business Value
Author:        Robert K. Wysocki
Publisher:    J. Ross Publishing www.jrosspub.com
List Price:    US$ 69.95
Format: Hard cover, 332 pages
Publication Date: 2014     
ISBN: 978-1-60427-100-3
Reviewer:  Mary Jane Quandt, PMP
Review Date: April 2015



Robert Wysocki states in his Introduction: “To be successful with the ACPF, you have to ‘think like a chef and not like a cook!’ … create or modify a recipe [project management approach] based on the specific characteristics and environment of the project …” He sprinkles this simple analogy throughout the book to illustrate the significance of the creative thinking required to apply the Adaptive Complex Project Framework (ACPF) tool he’s developed based on years of acquired expertise in managing complex projects.

He holds that effective complex project management includes keeping things simple and intuitive with an organized, common-sense approach. To that end, the ACPF provides vetted and customizable tools, templates, and processes that align with the PMBOK® Guide and other principles of lean management guidelines. (Refer to Appendix C – References and Further Reading.)

Overview of Book’s Structure

In Chapter 1 the author introduces the concept of Adaptive Complex Project Framework (ACPF). In Chapter 2 he describes the challenge of uncertainties in today’s complex business environment – high speed, high change, lower costs, increasing complexity, and increasing uncertainty. Wysocki states: “Increasing levels of complexity and uncertainty mean the project management approaches must allow for creativity, flexibility, and adaptability on the part of the complex project team.” He defines a complex project team, including the skills and capabilities required of a complex project manager (CPM). “A complex project manager is a chef, not a cook.”

Chapter 3 provides an overview and background of the holistic Adaptive Complex Project Framework. Wysocki then presents in Chapters 4 through 6 the step-by-step detail of how to creatively apply the uniqueness of the three ACPF phases – Project Ideation, Project Set-up, and Project Execution – to effectively and efficiently manage a complex project to deliver greatest business value to the client organization.

Wysocki considers meaningful client involvement to be a Critical Success Factor (CSF) in the successful management of complex projects using ACPF and dedicates Chapter 7 to an in-depth discussion on how to establish and sustain that client involvement, including the challenges involved.


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About the Reviewer


pmwj34-May2015-Quandt-PHOTOMary Jane Quandt

North Texas, USA



Mary Jane Quandt is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with specialization in IT application implementation, IT Infrastructure Service Operations and Management and process improvement, including Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Best Practices. Her project management experience includes in-depth analysis of business needs, establishment of project requirements, and successful, on-time execution of project deliverables. Her experience is in the finance, banking, government, logistics, manufacturing, and electrical engineering industries. Email: www.linkedin.com/in/maryjanequandt/ or [email protected]


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 [email protected].