Project Leadership: Creating Value with an Adaptive Project Organization, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Project Leadership

Creating Value with an Adaptive Project Organization, 1st Edition

By Barry L. Cross, M. Kathryn Brohman

CRC Press

223 pages | 43 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-07-01
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Look around your organization: can you identify who owns project management? Would that person appreciate that they own responsibility for your projects? Project Leadership: Creating Value with an Adaptive Project Organization highlights the importance of these questions—underlining the importance not only of the project team but on the culture of executive leadership to the success of projects. It offers straight-forward takeaways and solutions to provide executives with the tools to implement an effective project environment.

The book begins with a discussion of the project environment and what it means for a project to succeed or fail in today’s world. It introduces the Adaptive Project Management Model followed by a review of the systems and tools that give firms increasing ability to maintain priority on strategic projects and manage their associated uncertainty. Working through the book, you can progressively apply tactics from each chapter to increase your project leadership capability and improve your process so that your projects adapt as required depending on the nature of the portfolio itself.

Ask yourself this—what is my customer buying? What do they really want? The one element that all organizations have in common is that customers are buying execution, and not much else. Therefore, ultimately, this book is about execution—getting things done and making things happen. It details methods and tactics that help you execute projects more effectively and give your organization the edge in the current, fast-paced marketplace.


"Barry and Kathryn, through their knowledge and experience offer a very effective and practical way to understand and manage a culture of project management. As one of their former students and a senior executive with a wide experience in project management in the federal government, I can confirm with certainty that numerous best practices presented in this book will help organizations optimize organizational capabilities that will help projects meet strategic objectives."

—Stephane Cousineau, Deputy Director and Chief Information Officer, FINTRAC, Government of Canada

"This book offers a balance of logical and persuasive content with experience and observations of real life examples of effective project leadership. The authors describe a number of projects they participated in. The result is a book that is not only very insightful but also an interesting read."

—Jim McSheffrey, Vice President, Greater China Area and President, 3M China.

"I highly recommend this book for all leaders involved in project strategy and delivery. Throughout this book, Professor Brohman and Professor Cross have offered exceptional insight into real-world project delivery complexities that organizations often face. Effective project leadership is the key ingredient behind successful project launches and the authors have provided an invaluable framework that will enable leaders to be more effective."

—Farshad Kajouii, Director, Project Delivery, Bell Canada.

Table of Contents

The Project Environment

Cooking with Campbell’s: DuPont Goes Downstream in the Le Menu Dinner

Why Projects Fail

The England–France

Channel Tunnel (Chunnel) Project

Why Projects Fail

The Case for Project Leadership

The Adaptive Project Leadership Model

Why Project Leadership Is Important: Redux

Assessing the Need for Project Leadership

The 92nd Grey Cup (2004): A Case in Project Leadership

Project Oversight and Visibility

Leadership through the Intersection Points

Leadership through Effective Oversight and Visibility

Oversight and Visibility at Access Copyright

The Paradox of Project Control

The Need for Control

The Project Leadership Gap and the Paradox of Control

Establishing Effective Project Control

Institutionalization: Moving from Leadership to Organizational Control

Four Systems of Organizational Control

Effective Decision Control

Managing the Paradox: IT Project Delivery in the Canadian Government

Risk and Crisis Management

The Steps in Risk Management

Crisis Management

Project Timing and Acceleration

Barriers to Effective Project Estimates

Increasing Estimate Accuracy

Project Acceleration

Strategy, Execution, and the Operating Plan

Project Visibility and Reinforcing Strategy: The Operating Plan

Building an Adaptive Project Organization

What Is an Adaptive Organization?

Moving from Order to Adaptive

The Anatomy of an Adaptive Project Organization

Building an Adaptive Project Organization at Bright Star

Appendix A: Project Leadership Organizational Self-Assessment

Project Leadership Assessment

Analyzing Your Results

Appendix B: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis



About the Authors

Barry Cross’ career spans over 25 years of industry, teaching and consulting experience. He joined Queen’s University in 2006 after spending 18 years in various Executive and Management positions with Magna International, Autosystems Manufacturing and DuPont. While in Industry, Mr. Cross led many key strategic initiatives, including the development of significant projects in Asia, Brazil, Mexico, and Europe.

Mr. Cross now teaches at Queen’s School of Business at the Undergraduate and Graduate levels in Operations Management, Service Management, and Project Management. At the Executive level, he speaks regularly on Lean, Innovation, Execution, Operations and Project Management. His speaking and consulting clients include Deloitte, Samsung, Encana and others.

He has an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Waterloo. He has published numerous articles and is quoted widely in radio, television and the written media. He is the bestselling author of Lean Innovation: Understanding What’s Next in Today’s Economy (Taylor and Francis, 2012).

Kathryn Brohman’s career started as a marketing manager with Sun Microsystems of Canada. She went on to pursue her Ph.D. in information systems at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario where she spent four years working with systems development teams both at the university as well as with organizations including Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, and the Bank of Montreal.

Dr. Brohman is now an Associate professor at Queen’s School of Business. Her leading edge research focuses on enabling business strategy with technology with a specific focus on project governance and control and IT-enabled resilient organizational design. She has published her work in premier journals including the Decision Sciences, Harvard Business Review, MIS Quarterly Executive, and Communications of the ACM.

Kathryn’s primary teaching interests are strategy execution, project leadership, project management and IT-enabled service innovation. She regularly collaborates with organizations by providing assessment and coaching to improve organizational project management and leadership capabilities.

She has worked with a number of organizations on PMO design and enabling other formal mechanisms adaptive project control including Cargill, Empire Financial, Butterball Farms Inc., Access Copyright, and Queen’s University.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Management Science
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management