Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives using a Third Generation Approach



pmwj37-Aug2015-Hudson-BOOKBook Title:   Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives using a Third Generation Approach
Author:        Richard J Heaslip
Publisher:    Wiley
List Price:     $85.00
Format:       Hard cover
Publication Date:   2014    
ISBN:           978-1-118-38301-8
Reviewer:     Clint Hudson
Review Date: May 2015



The author, Richard Heaslip, spent much of his career in scientific experimentation as a biochemical pharmacologist. As his career advanced, he found himself serving as Vice President of Program, Project, and Portfolio Management. It is the convergence of these two roles that serves as the catalyst for this book. In his Project Leadership role he became very dissatisfied with the way projects were being managed in his organization. This dissatisfaction led him on a journey to learn about, analyze, and form a new hypothesis regarding how best to handle complex projects and programs. This book, Managing Complex Projects and Programs, details that journey and his recommendations.

Overview of Book’s Structure

Managing Complex Projects and Programs is broken down into two major sections: The first section focuses on the history, successes and limitations of first and second generation programmatics. The second section provides an explanation of third generation programmatics, its structure and benefits, and why Heaslip believes that third generation programmatics is a superior structure for managing complex projects and programs. The following is a brief explanation of first, second, and third generation programmatics as outlined in these two sections.

In first generation programmatics the structure for a project or program in a corporate environment is highly formal and rigid. The Project Manager is responsible for ensuring that the project is on-time, on-budget, and to specifications. The project managers have extremely limited authority to change the project specifications and answer to oversight committees who authorize changes to the project or program. The oversight committees maintain tight control over project’s strategies, plans, timelines, budgets, and specifications. The project manager focuses on project outputs.

In second generation programmatics the project or program manager has greater responsibility for projects whose timelines, budgets, and specifications need to be managed adaptively. The project manager is more responsible for ensuring that outcomes meet the business objectives of the company rather that rigidly conforming to project specifications. The project manager must adapt the project to meet a changing environment and business needs. The project manager is also responsible for managing multiple internal constituencies. In second generation programmatics, companies often add layers of sub-committees that the project or program managers must answer to or manage to ensure that the project meets the needs of all.


To read entire Book Review (click here)


About the Reviewer

pmwj37-Aug2015-Hudson-PHOTOClint Hudson

Texas, USA




Clint Hudson, PMP currently serves as the Director of Account Management for EnTouch Controls, a provider of energy management services, solutions and products. Clint holds the PMI PMP credential and has successfully completed projects involving the deployment hardware, software, and services to companies ranging from Fortune 100 companies to single site proprietors. He has also led the formation of account management, project management, accounts receivable and customer service organizations in small and medium sized companies. He currently resides in Frisco, Texas, USA with his wife Elisa and three children; Kara, Clayton, and Katie.


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].