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Managing the Unknown: A New Approach to Managing High Uncertainty and Risk in Projects

ISBN: 978-0-471-69305-5
304 pages
March 2006
Managing the Unknown: A New Approach to Managing High Uncertainty and Risk in Projects (0471693057) cover image
Managing the Unknown offers a new way of looking at the problem of managing projects in novel and unknown environments. From Europe's leading business school, this book shows how to manage two fundamental approaches that, in combination, offer the possibility of coping with unforeseen influences that inevitably arise in novel projects:
* Trial-and-Error Learning allows for redefining the plan and the project as the project unfolds
* Selectionism pursues multiple, independent trials in order to pick the best one at the end

Managing the Unknown offers expert guidelines to the specific project mindsets, infrastructures, and management methods required to use these project management approaches and achieve success in spite of unforeseen obstacles. This book equips readers with:
* Causal explanations of why unforeseeable factors in novel projects make traditional project planning and project risk management insufficient
* Directly applicable management tools that help managers to guide novel and high-uncertainty projects
* Real-world case studies of both successful and unsuccessful approaches to managing high uncertainty in novel projects
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Introduction.

PART I. A NEW LOOK AT PROJECT RISK MANAGEMENT.

Chapter 1. PRM Best Practice: The PCNet Project.

Chapter 2. The Limits of Established PRM: The Circored Project.

Chapter 3. A Broader Look at Project Risk Management.

PART II. MANAGING THE UNKNOWN.

Chapter 4.   Diagnosing Complexity and Uncertainty.

Chapter 5. Learning Projects.

Chapter 6. Multiple Parallel Projects: Selectionism.

Chapter 7. Selectionism and Learning in Projects.

PART III. PUTTING SELECTIONISM AND LEARNING INTO PRACTICE.

Chapter 8. Establishing the Project Mindset.

Chapter 9. Putting the Infrastructure in Place.

Chapter 10. Managing Relationships and Project Governance.

Chapter 11. Managing Project Stakeholders in Presence of Unk Unks.

PART IV. MANAGING THE UNKNOWN: THE ROLE OF SENIOR MANAGEMENT.

Chapter 12. The Role of Senior Management in Novel Projects.

References.

Index.

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Dr. Christoph H. Loch,  Dr. Arnoud DeMeyer, Dr. Michael T. Pich, Department of Technology Management, ISEAD, Fontainebleu, FRANCE
The authors are professors at Europe’s leading business school – INSEAD.  All have been in both the private sector and in academia and all are currently involved in teaching project management, strategic management, and technology management.
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"Managing the Unknown, is an important book, and it was a revelation for me.  It takes a fresh look at project risk management, which is a vital skill in developing a new product, but goes beyond conventional risk management in critical ways." (Journal of Product Innovation Management, October 2006)
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