Projects and Complexity: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Projects and Complexity

1st Edition

Edited by Francesco Varanini, Walter Ginevri

Auerbach Publications

327 pages | 48 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781466502796
pub: 2012-05-09
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Helpful to those tasked with managing complex environments, Projects and Complexity introduces a new way of looking at projects and fostering the culture needed to achieve sustainable results. It brings together experts from the academic, military, and business worlds to explore project management in the context of complexity theory and organizations. These experts explore a systemic and organic approach to projects that widens the scope of a project manager’s role as well as the tools and capabilities required.

The book provides readers with an understanding of the roots of project management in complexity theory and the human sciences. It explores seven principles of complexity theory and applies them to project management; examining project needs and features in terms of success parameters, team and stakeholders’ perspectives, the project manager’s perspective, and the perspectives of theory and practice.

  • Explores a new humanistic paradigm in thinking about projects and project management
  • Illustrates the culture and philosophy of projects from a range of perspectives
  • Outlines an interdisciplinary approach to Project Management that integrates scientific and humanistic disciplines

The contributors examine cutting-edge organizational models from management research and military leadership and map them to project management. They integrate insights from various disciplines to introduce tools that are relatively unknown to project managers and leaders. The book describes a paradigm that is complementary to traditional project management and also provides you with the philosophical, general management, and complexity theory findings needed to lead successful projects in complex environments.


… thought-provoking, and inspiring. I particularly engaged with the sections on complexity, on the project as a complex adaptive system, and on chrónos-versus-kairós time. Some of these issues are starting to emerge as key elements in the future landscape of project-based management … this text will assist in appreciating, understanding, and accepting the need for project management to be explored and documented in new and different ways. Read this book. It will reward you in many ways, and will probably change the way that you think about project management in the future.

—Dr. Steve Leybourne, Boston University

A fascinating book bringing a new philosophy and a fresh view to project management. … provides clear insights on key challenges and dynamics of project implementation in a rapidly changing environment. It is more than a technical reference book for project managers: I found it stimulating, thoughtful, and broadly applicable to any complex management endeavor.

—Nicoletta Scannavini, Sr. Marketing Manager, EMEA Financial Institutions Group, A.T. Kearney

This book contains precious pages, which bring the readers to an intellectual experience beyond the deepening of the thematic of project management, creating an exploration adventure into the most urgent nodes of the organizational and managerial contemporary experience.

—Giuseppe Varchetta, Former Chief of Organizational Development, Unilever, Italy

It is very true what this book says about the analogy between projects and systems: a system is a project in progress. It is evident, more than ever, that in a complex system the technical/technological infrastructure is an essential and enabling component, but it is not the whole.

—Marco Lisi, System & Operations Manager, European Space Agency

Table of Contents


Complexity in Projects: A Humanistic View; Francesco Varanini

A Philosopher of Science’s Opinion; Ginaluca Bocchi

Testimonies and Complexity; Fernando Giancotti

The Shared Vision as a Change Engine; Alberto Felice De Toni

Self-Organized Project Management; Luca Comello

The Project beyond WBS; Livio Paradiso & Michela Ruffa

Stakeholders’ Worlds; Carlo Notari & Mariù Moresco

The Propitious Time; Diego Centanni

Leadership and Complexity; Stefano Morpurgo

Narrating to Believe; Bice Dellarciprete & Andrea Pinnola

Risk and Complexity; Roberto Villa

The Value of Redundancy; Bruna Bergami

An Ongoing Journey; Walter Ginevri


About the Editors

About the Editors:

Francesco Varanini spent three years as an anthropologist in Ecuador after obtaining his degree in sociology. Upon his return to Italy, he took a position with Mondadori, Italy’s leading publisher, with responsibility for human resources development, organization services, and the full-text database of company products. He currently works as a teacher and senior consultant in strategic and organizational development, new media, and social skills for change management. His projects include the Corporate University of Mobile Telecommunications Operator Vodafone and the Virtual Campus for e-Learning of Banca Intesa/Banca Commerciale Italiana (Italy’s leading banking group), Internal Portal of Autogrill Group. He also is member of faculty, head of e-business and information and communication technology area, director of e-business management master, and director of customer relationship management master for ISTUD—Istituto di Studi Direzionali (Italian Business School). He is also managing editor of Persone & Conoscenze, adjunct professor in knowledge management, Università di Pisa, Corso di Laurea in Informatica Umanistica (digital humanities), and scientific director of Assoetica (

Walter Ginevri, PMP®, PgMP®, has many years of experience as a senior consultant specializing in optimizing processes through the adoption of proven methodologies and tools. In this role, he collaborated with the most prestigious industrial groups and financial institutions providing advisory services within organizational turnaround programs. He has participated in European research projects (Esprit, Eureka), contributed articles to several journals and attended, as an invited speaker, international congresses about project and portfolio management. As founder and managing partner of PM for Complexity, he is a project advisor and executive coach for top firms in Italy, Germany, and France. He is also a senior trainer at the University of Verona and the Politecnico of Milan.

Genevri was appointed president of the PMI Northern Italy Chapter in January 2011. Since 2010, he has been a liaison member of the PMI Educational Foundation.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)