As the title suggests, Project Resilience is about making projects and project managers more resilient. The authors look at projects not simply from a ’mechanistic’ approach in which work can be broken down, executed and controlled as a series of interlocking parts but rather as ’organic’ constructs, living entities existing for a finite period of time, consisting of people, structures and processes. These entities are constantly challenged by environmental adversity - risk, uncertainty and complexity. Resilience involves finding ways to help project managers notice more, interpret adversity more realistically, prepare themselves better for it, contain and recover from it quicker and more appropriately. The book has two purposes: it offers a glimpse into our tendencies to be irrational in the face of adversity: risk, uncertainty and complexity. The second purpose is to offer a new perspective to aid in managing risky, and in particular uncertain and complex projects. The authors go beyond commonly-accepted standards in project management with the aim of providing an understanding of how to implement project-wide resilience. The purpose is to guide, not to prescribe. It is best used as a trigger for a thinking process to define your own unique approach to managing uncertainty, not to replace your experience and judgement. Ultimately, it has been written to challenge traditional wisdom in project management, and to address the rationale for creative best practices.
Elmar Kutsch is a Senior Lecturer in Risk Management, Cranfield School of Management. As a passionate skydiver and former project manager, Elmar’s interests, both privately and professionally, revolve around the management of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity; the unexpected. Mark Hall is a Senior Lecturer in Project and Operations Management at Birmingham University, previously he worked at the University of Bristol and University of Bath. Mark worked in the UK construction industry for several years as both a surveyor and a project manager. Neil Turner is the Course Director of the MSc in Programme and Project Management at Cranfield University. His current research interests are around organisational learning in the context of complex projects and programmes, with a focus on how organisations (don't) learn to improve their project performance. He was previously an Engineering Manager in a large multinational telecommunications firm, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology.
’Beyond prescriptive project literature, we need to understand real projects, with real people and wicked problems. This book provides a structured approach, looking at traps or "lures" (certainty, aleatoric risk view, over-simplicity, fail-safe over-planning, illusion of control). The book recognises "too difficult" aspects that are often ignored, and best practices - a good contribution to the new way of looking at real projects.’ Terry Williams, Hull University Business School, UK ’Insightful and down to earth - this book is compulsive reading for anyone with an interest in Project Management. As the authors say, the purpose of this book is to guide - not prescribe and in so doing it takes the reader through the subject matter in both its science and art forms. In so doing it provides a bridge between theory and practice using as it does some interesting vignettes to develop its themes. The aim is to improve the understanding of the practice of project management in all its forms and to provide useful, thought-provoking approaches to disentangle the myths of the subject matter. There are many practical tips for the practitioner set out by authors who clearly know and understand the subject matter. I believe this book makes a useful contribution to the current literature.’ Mike Jones, Director of the Foundation for Management Education, UK ’This very readable book addresses some very common causes of serious project problems and even failures - the interplay of uncertainty and complexity and accommodating the different perceptions of those involved. The authors’ insights, plus the well exemplified and very practical approaches described, will enable project managers to avoid many of the resulting risks and enable effective responses if they occur.’ John Ward, Cranfield University, School of Management, UK ’This thoroughly researched book provides fresh insights and perspectives to help the most capable project managers manage risk an