Managing Complex Projects and Programs


pmwj34-May2015-Zorinsky-BOOKBook Title: Managing Complex Projects and Programs – How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach
Author: Richard J. Heaslip, Ph.D
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey
List Price:   $85.00
Format: Hard cover; 283 pages
Publication Date: September, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-118-38301-8
Reviewer:    Eldon J. Zorinsky, PMP
Review Date: March 2015


Introduction to the Book

In his new book, “Managing Complex Projects and Programs – How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach,” Richard J. Healslip, Ph.D examines the (underappreciated) “identity crisis” expressed by many project and program managers; he uncovers its root causes and explores its adverse impacts on organizational performance, the profession and individual project and program leaders. He begins this process by asking the question: “What circumstances have led experienced, successful project and program leaders to become exasperated with their profession (those who the author defines as “Exasperados” – project and program managers who yearn to deliver not only traditional project “outputs,” within the constraints of schedule, scope, cost and quality, but organizationally-desired “outcomes” as well)?”

The intellectual journey he takes the reader on clearly leads to the answer to his question. In workman-like fashion, Dr. Heaslip uses his concepts of “programmatic science” to lay the foundation upon which he formulates the idea of “3rd generation programmatics” as a means to achieve the next generation of organizational capabilities.

By employing his own broad experience along with organizational case studies and a great deal of anecdotal information obtained via personal interviews with a broad spectrum of academics, industry executives, sponsors, stakeholders, program and project managers, team members and others he is able to systematically analyze and evaluate the approaches used to date, along with their associated results, to develop a sound alternative that will enable many organizations to rise to a new level of program and project management maturity that has the potential to dramatically improve execution, drive higher levels of strategic achievement and result in greater career satisfaction and professional growth opportunities for project and program managers (“Programmaticists”).

Dr. Heaslip does an outstanding job of methodically reviewing the evolution of Industrial Age organizational structures along with the project and program management methodologies that developed from them, and in so doing, he establishes a solid baseline understanding from which he can construct a new organizational framework that drives greater clarity with regard to the roles and responsibilities of project and program managers, as well as governance bodies and, by its structure, demonstrates how they should optimally interact in a large, modern organization that is characterized by the growing challenges associated with diverse groups of stakeholders attempting to carry out an increasing number of disparate activities under a wide variety of constraints in a multi-dimensional environment of complexity and uncertainty both internal and external to the organization.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book consists of 14 Chapters, organized into two parts. The first part of the book consists of Chapters 1 through 8 and focuses on “Professional Project and Program Management – Yesterday and Today.” Topics covered include: the exhilaration and exasperation of Project and Program leadership; the emergence of project management (what the author calls “1st Generation Programmatics”); the evolution of project management (“2nd Generation Programmatics”); rethinking roles and responsibilities of project management professionals; Stakeholder views about the roles and responsibilities of “Programmaticists” (e.g., project and program management professionals); addressing modern problems with traditional management models; adaptations of the traditional two-party fully governed project oversight model; and what to do moving forward.


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About the Reviewer


pmwj34-May2015-Zorinsky-PHOTOEldon Zorinsky

Texas, USA



Dr. Eldon Zorinsky
is an experienced technology executive, Program Director, certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas. Eldon specializes in building high-performing teams of technical and business professionals and leading them in the definition, development and commercialization of new products and technologies.

He received his Doctor of Engineering degree in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science degree in Engineering Management from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Missouri at Columbia, MO and a Bachelor of Science degree from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. He holds numerous patents in the areas of semiconductor devices and device isolation and over the course of his career, has successfully led product and technology development and commercialization efforts that generated combined revenue of nearly $1B.

Eldon is an active member of the Dallas Chapter of PMI and is currently serving as a volunteer with the Chapter’s Professional Development Group. He is also a member of IEEE, The Engineering Management Society, AAAS, and The American Vacuum Society. Email: [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].