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


pmwj32-Mar2015-Olshack-BOOK COVERBook Title:    Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives using a Third-Generation Approach
Author: Richard J. Heaslip, PhD
Publisher: Wiley
List Price:   $85.00 USD
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Publication Date:   September 2014
ISBN: 9781118383018
Reviewer:      Jackie Olshack
Review Date:            February 2015


The author starts the book by sharing that the impetus for writing it emanated from a slow boil of “exasperation” that built up, almost unknowingly, over a 15+ year career in project management at one of the world’s most renowned pharmaceutical companies. This exasperation, which he talks about in detail throughout the book, reached its peak during an interview he conducted, when a program management candidate asked him to articulate with specificity both the skillset he would need to have and the responsibilities he would be required to fulfill, should he be hired for the role in question.

The author realized that he, as Vice President of Portfolio, Program and Project Management, could not provide the candidate with a concrete answer. His inability to answer the job candidate’s questions, along with a serendipitous phone call from Joe Adler, a faculty member at Penn State University, culminated in the author writing this book.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is written in a very academic and scholarly format; its prose, verbiage and even its syntax are reminiscent of highly analytic, scientific, journal-like writing. Of course, this is not surprising in the least considering the author is in fact, an actual scientist. One major missing ingredient, which prevents the book from being completely scientific in scope, is that the author neither references nor shares any quantifiable data or documented case studies to support his position that the project management industry is strongly in need of a paradigm shift, which he calls “a 3rd generation approach,” if it is to keep those currently employed in the field, and any new arrivals, from becoming frustrated and disillusioned with project management as their chosen profession. 


To read entire Book Review (click here)


About the Reviewer

pmwj32-Mar2015-Olshack-REVIEWERJackie Olshack flag-usa

Texas, USA

Jackie Olshack is a program manager currently working in the healthcare field, specifically managing Medicare D programs. She is also actively involved with the Dallas chapter of PMI.

Email address: [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].