Projects have increasingly become complex and faced with many unknowns. This book adopts a multi-perspective approach including a business (value), a technical, an organizational and a stakeholder perspective. It is targeted graduate students and practicing and reflecting project managers who want to go beyond a specific project manual. A coherent model, resting on the four perspectives, is presented for planning, organizing, managing and controlling a project, with focus on leadership rather than just planning. The book includes practical methods and tools.
Project Management – Multi-perspective Leadership is a revised translation of the 10th edition of the Danish book Grundbog i Projektledelse. By adopting a multi-perspective approach, project management may be tied to corporate strategy and organizational development.
The book is organized in two, almost equal parts: a theoretical part covering key issues related to project management, including management of several parallel projects, and an appendix part with practical methods and techniques. In this way, the book may serve both as an introduction to theory and key concepts and as a practical handbook.
Professor Adolfo López Paredes, Universidad de Valladolid, Escuela de Ingenierias Industriales, Spain, offers his opinion:
“I think that the book is an excellent reference with a different approach than conventional volumes, and in particular I appreciate it very much as a key reference for ‘advanced studies’ in project management (beyond the PMBOK, the conventional handbooks, and other similar references.”
List of content
Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Forming and defining the project
Chapter 3 – Planning the course of action
Chapter 4 – Organizing
Chapter 5 – Cooperation in the project organization
Chapter 6 – Project leadership
Chapter 7 – Project control
Chapter 8 – Management of several projects
Chapter 9 – Trends and challenges for future projects
Appendix 1 – Project characteristics (including two tool sheets)
Appendix 2 – Forming and defining the project (including five tool sheets)
Appendix 3 – Planning the course of action (including eight tool sheets)
Appendix 4 – Organizing (including three tool sheets)
Appendix 5 – Cooperation in the project organization (including eight tool sheets)
Appendix 6 – Project leadership (including three tool sheets)
Appendix 7 – Project control (including 21 tool sheets)
In recognition of the diversity of projects, Project Management – Multi-perspective Leadership takes the nature of the individual project as point of departure. In contrast to several textbooks on project management, this book does not present a specific set of methods and techniques for managing a project. Instead, it rests on a generic five-by-five model that captures essential elements of project management. It is used to identify the nature of the specific project and to develop appropriate approaches and means.
The starting point is that a project is intended to create value, not just to deliver products or systems. Another issue is that a project is part of changes in the organization, processes and competencies of a company or an institution. Public and private projects often do not lead to expected success primarily because of insufficient management of organizational change processes. As a consequence, we view change management as essential to project management, requiring special attention to the interaction between the project organization and the organization that the project aims to change.
Attention to the nature of the project task is manifested in the project portrait based on four perspectives (a business (value), a technical, an organizational and a stakeholder perspective). The portrait identifies circumstances that may render a project difficult. This model is supplemented by a discussion of the notion of complexity. Five dimensions of complexity are identified, and we present a number of means of managing complex situations.
In view of the diversity of projects, we square up with a standard project phase model. In practice, we see numerous courses of action that reflect the specific situation of projects and that have been acted upon with great empathy and ingenuity. Instead of proposing a standard model for a project’s course of action, we will present a spectrum of different models to support a situational approach.
The increased prevalence of projects has created a need to view several projects together. Therefore, we have written a separate chapter on management of several projects, with coordination of projects in a portfolio and a program as a central theme. Also, projects’ role in corporate strategy is discussed. The chapter rests, among other things, on a survey and a development project that we have carried out in Danish companies.
The close interaction with practice has encouraged us to treat the above-mentioned topics. However, they are also supported by development trends identified by several researchers on the basis of comprehensive literature and empirical studies. Adopting a situational approach may render project management more cumbersome. In any case, it will not be boring. We believe that project management should not be taught and practiced on the basis of standard models of organizing a project, of phase models, and of project control of time, costs and quality. Reality is much more varied and calls for a diversified approach that includes uncovering challenges and difficulties encountered in the management of a specific project.
To work with project management on the basis of the uncertainty and complexity of a specific project task requires empathy, creativity and interplay with people. This will make project management more challenging and also more interesting. It may be relevant to ask if companies and institutions are willing to support a more situational, task-oriented and value-driven mode of working with projects, rather than focusing on complying with procedures and directions. We believe that a more systematic and explicit delineation of the project conditions and a broad discussion of the project task will make it possible to clearly define the responsibilities of a project.
Project Management – Multi-perspective Leadership includes a number of methods and tools. However, the project manager needs to select those considered appropriate for the specific project situation. The above-mentioned trends underline the importance of acting as a ‘learning’ project manager. Project management is learned on the job, and the learning process should be directed. Therefore, we have augmented the sections on learning and gaining experience. Often in the book, we use the term ‘company’ as the place where projects take place. It should be interpreted in a broad sense to include private and public companies, public institutions and administration.