If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always
got, and if it's not good enough, you need to do something else. As
project complexity increases, so too does the need to do new
things. The existing Project Management tools - examples being
Earned Value Management, PRINCE2, Lifecycle Management, PMBOK (R) -
are incredibly useful; but they were designed for linear project
development in a stable, understood environment. We term them
'First Order'. Second Order Project Management (PM) goes beyond,
addressing the issues of a complex, unstable, uncertain environment
with all its associated difficulties. Second Order PM has to
address four major issues: the conspiracy of optimism,
inappropriate contracting models, the application of methods and
tools capable of dealing with complexity, and the need for
creative, inspirational, adhocratic leadership. These problems are
compounded by the need to convince executive sponsors from
different disciplines to invest in the necessary process
improvement - this book is designed to help alleviate the
frustration that every member of the profession has experienced
when trying to gain such approval. Illustrated by interviews with
an international group of very senior managers responsible for
managing highly complex projects, Michael Cavanagh explains why
there is nothing magical, or even complicated, about Second Order
PM. The techniques discussed include aspects of System Thinking,
Experiential Learning and its application, Ethics and Governance,
Stakeholder Relationships, Appropriate Contracting Models,
Outcome-driven Management and Leadership Behaviour, all recognised
as increasingly necessary in direct proportion to the complexity of
the project at hand.
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