Resilience, a new perspective for Project Management actors


By Roberto Mori

Milan, Italy

A word is increasingly gaining more attention in many social and business contexts such as countries, organizations, industries, enterprises, environment and climate, cities, security, which are impacted by unprecedented changes: this word is resilience.

For English Wiktionary resilience generally means the ability to recover from some shock or disturbance. There are different meanings for it:

  • resilience of a material: the physical property of material that can resume its shape after being stretched or deformed (elasticity) or, in other words, that can absorb energy without breaking;
  • resilience of a system: the ability of a system to recover from a catastrophic failure;
  • resilience of an IT system: the capacity of an IT system to guarantee its service continuity;
  • resilience in biology: the capacity of a living system to recover its own equilibrium after a change or a damage;
  • resilience in psychology: the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress (The American Psychological Association).

The President of IPMA, Reinhard Wagner, states: We all experience an increasingly complex environment, which has a significant impact on our projects and the way we manage them. Factors to be considered are risks (calculable events), uncertainties (incalculable events), unforeseen influences, complexity and dynamic changes. This is a challenge to traditional approaches of project management and the paradigm of planning and control. Project managers and their teams need to have competences that enable them to quickly recover from difficulties and come back on track towards the desired goals … Concepts of resilience for individuals, projects and organizations will help to advance the profession and cope with the ever-increasing challenges on our relentless pursuit towards a world in which all projects succeed.

Managing Editor of PM World Journal David Pells adds that resilience has become a very important topic in the project management field, where risks associated with disasters or other disruptive changes can be catastrophic. We would like to grow the resource base on this topic in the PM World Library during 2016.

It is therefore consequential that Resilience was chosen by Antonio Calabrese, Director of the Master in Project Management program at MIP Politecnico di Milano and President of IPMA Italy, as the topic for a “PM in Action” lecture: Resilience and Motivation. The presentation was delivered by prof. Pietro Trabucchi of Verona University, author of several books on the topic, the last of which is To persevere is human.

It is not the purpose of this article to summarize in a structured way the content of the whole presentation, but to underline those of the many interesting points that have attracted the audience attention, which are particularly interesting from a project management perspective.


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About the Author

Roberto Mori

Milan, Italy



Roberto Mori
has an extensive background in Project Management of international turn-key projects of industrial plants, oil & gas and iron & steel sectors. He has covered several functions in project teams, up to the roles of Senior Project Manager, Projects Director and Portfolio Manager. His background includes also experience as Procurement Director and Operations Manager for the same type of projects portfolio. Today he is Director Special Projects in Tenova, one of the world’s leaders for iron, steel, mining and material handling technologies. (http://www.tenovagroup.com/)

Roberto Mori has been member of the Italian National Association of Plant Engineering (ANIMP) since the early 90’s, taking major part in the activities performed by its Project Management Section, IPMA Italy, of which he was President until February 2015. Information about ANIMP can be found at www.animp.it/IPMA

He was Chairman of International Project Management Association (IPMA) 2013- 2014, after having served as Vice President and President for four years. He has been Prize Winner of the IPMA Project Excellence Award 2006 and obtained the IPMA Otto Zieglmeier’s Award for Excellent Project Management Performance in 2008. Today he is member of the Jury for IPMA Project Excellence Awards. More about IPMA at http://www.ipma.ch/

Member of Scientific Committees for international conferences, author of published papers on project management topics, speaker at national and international congresses; he is also teacher for courses on project, risk and contract management.

Roberto Mori can be contacted at mailto:[email protected]