Thursday, 30 October 2008

Approaches to complex project management - Michael Cavanagh

"Two types of people in this world: simplifiers and complicators."

Need to simplify complexity. Things work on individual basis but put them together and they don't work. T5 good example - fantastic system but disaster because lack of systemic approach to testing real world experience.

Complex based on uncertainty, non-linearity and recoursiveness. Why use linear life-cycle for complex projects? Why pretend they are predictable and definable when not fixed?

Deal with complexity 1st order pm tools but basic tools not enough. 2nd order pm contracting models applicable. Key tools outcome management and honing leadership. "Better to do the right thing the wrong way rather than wrong thing right way."

Bureaucratic vs adhocracy approach. About thinking differently. Connections between new and old learning. Getting people to use brain. "Learn in experience not from experience. But only learn from own experience."

Experiential learning. "Drowning in information. Attention at a premium. Attention by its nature crude and vulgar." Trust in professionalism. "People good at job. Sniff out problem but need to argue rationally in order to articulate it."

Should systems thinking be part of the competency profile for project managers? Yes 96%. No 4%.
Have you personally ever thought of using a systems thinking approach to pm? 80% yes. 20% no.
Do you have to deal in your org with tasks which seem so complex that you can imagine failure? 96% yes. 4% no.

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