Title:Aspects of Complexity: Managing Projects in a Complex World
Author:Terry Cooke-Davies, PhD
Category:Project Management
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Detailed Description:Complexity in projects may be one of those things that are difficult to define, but easy to recognize when encountered. Or maybe not so easy. This collection of analyses deals with complexity in a way that will appeal to both academics and practitioners.

It arises from a series of four academic-business roundtables sponsored by the Project Management Institute in the U.S., Australia, Malta, and Brazil. Researchers will appreciate the academic rigor of the content and practitioners will appreciate the generally reader-friendly style and tone.

The opening chapter offers that elusive definition and provides the foundation for common understanding. The next four chapters compose the theoretical portion of the book, establishing the underpinning concepts related to systems thinking, systems engineering, chaos or complexity theory, and behavioral and cognitive aspects.

The remainder of the book is more practice-oriented. It is a serious attempt to pull together what is currently known and understood about the topic, to help practitioners and their managers improve future practice, and to guide research into answering those questions that will best help to improve understanding of the topic.

Readers will learn or better understand the difference between “complex” and “complicated” projects. A complicated project may be better understood and managed through the traditional practices of decomposition—breaking in down into smaller parts. Complex projects are more influenced by interactions among the parts and among other internal and external contributing elements. It is these interactions that can confound the most knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated project managers.

Five chapters offer deeper, more detailed investigation and analysis of principal aspects of project complexity, including strategic management, the reluctance to take on project management or “fear of flying,” the impact of complexity on cost and schedule estimates, managing project with high complexity, tools for complex projects, and developing managerial competence for complex projects.

An academic wrap-up chapter points to further research that is necessary and a practitioner wrap-up chapter points to possible “Project Management 2.0” practices that might augment current practice to manage complex projects at organization, governance, and delivery levels.

Many books that try to offer something to everyone eventually offer nothing to anyone. This hybrid text is unique. It is academically rigorous and practically sound. Those who study and research the theory of project management and those who manage projects and deliver results will find something of value here.
Publisher:Project Management Institute
Date Published:2011
PMI Product ID:00101256101
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