Central to the issue of improving project performance is the application of deterministic, probabilistic processes, and techniques to reduce human error. To that end, we as project managers often endeavour to implement and follow a project management methodology in the belief that we can reduce the scope for emerging ambiguous requirements, ill-matched resource needs and availability, contractual and funding constraints, and other unwanted uncertainties. However, such â€˜self-evidently correctâ€™ processes are not without their limitations.
The management of uncertainty needs to be viewed not from a procedural, â€˜stand-aloneâ€™ perspective but from a behavioural, people-driven perspective â€“ that is, Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a project-wide human capability to anticipate key events from emerging trends, constantly adapt to change, and rapidly bounce back from adversity. Resilient project managers are forward-thinking and able to foresee relevant scenarios that are likely to occur and which may have damaging effects on performance. We strive to be prepared for the best but also for the worst, and learning is nurtured and encouraged. We believe that with purpose, whatever uncertainty hits us, and regardless of the damage caused, we can prevent a crisis from happening in the first place. When a crisis occurs, we can recover and bounce back from shocks, quickly restoring â€˜normalâ€™ management.
This book goes beyond commonly accepted standards in project management and looks past mere compliance to determinism and probabilistic approaches to managing uncertainty. Relying on the power of mindful thinking, it identifies an art to manage uncertainty.
Table of Contents
Foreword, Chapter 1 â€“ The Challenge, A Litany of Project Failure, The Emergence of Project Management, The Challenge of Uncertainty and Complexity, What this Book is About, Chapter 2 â€“ Archetypes of Project Resilience, A â€˜Projectâ€™ without Parallels, Two Principal Modes of Project Management Revisited, Chapter 3 â€“ The Art of Noticing, The Lure of Normality, Key Enablers to the Art of Noticing, Leading the Art of Noticing, The Impact of Noticing on Relationships, Kodak â€“ A failure of Noticing, Towards an Art of Noticing, Chapter 4 â€“ The Art of Interpreting, The Lure of Simplicity, Key Enablers to the Art of Interpreting, Leading the Art of Interpreting, The Impact of Interpreting on Relationships, Deepwater Horizon â€“ A failure of Interpreting, Chapter 5 â€“ The Art of Preparing, The Lure of the Fail-safe, Key Enablers to the Art of Preparing, Leading the Art of Preparing, The Impact of Preparing on Relationships, Space Shuttle Columbia â€“ A failure of Preparing, Towards an Art of Preparing Chapter 6 â€“ The Art of Containing, The Lure of Control, Key Enablers to the Art of Containing, Leading the Art of Containing, The Impact of Containing on Relationships, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey â€“ A success of Containing, Towards an Art of Containing, Chapter 7 â€“ The Art of Recovering, The Lure of a â€˜Great Escapeâ€™, Key Enablers to Recovering, Leading the Art of Recovering, The Impact of Recovering on Relationships, Apple â€“ A success of Recovering, Towards an Art of Recovering Chapter 8 â€“ Roads to Resilience, A Road Map, Balancing Rule-based and Mindfulness-based Project Resilience, Rocks on the Road to Resilience, Outlook.
Elmar Kutsch is Associate Professor in Risk Management, Cranfield School of Management. Previously, he held a variety of commercial and senior management positions within the Information Technology (IT) industry. As a passionate skydiver and former project manager, his interests, both privately and professionally, revolve around the management of risk and uncertainty. Mark Hall is Senior Lecturer in Project and Operations Management and Director of the MBA Programme in Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham. Previously, he worked at the Universities of Bristol and Bath. Before becoming an academic, Mark worked in the UK and internationally for several years as a surveyor and project manager.