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Leading Complex Projects: A Data-Driven Approach to Mastering the Human Side of Project Management



Leading Complex Projects: A Data-Driven Approach to Mastering the Human Side of Project Management

Edward W. Merrow, Neeraj Nandurdikar

ISBN: 978-1-119-38226-3 April 2018 256 Pages


Quantitative analysis of outcomes vs PMs at the individual level

Leading Complex Projects takes a unique approach to post-mortem analysis to provide project managers with invaluable insight. For the first time, individual PM characteristics are quantitatively linked to project outcomes through a major study investigating the role of project leadership in the success and failure of complex industrial projects; hard data on the backgrounds, education, and personality characteristics of over 100 directors of complex projects is analyzed against the backdrop of project performance to provide insight into controllable determinants of outcomes. By placing these analyses alongside their own data, PMs will gain greater insight into areas of weakness and strength, locate recurring obstacles, and identify project components in need of greater planning, oversight, or control.

The role of leadership is to deliver results; in project management, this means taking responsibility for project outcomes. PMs are driven by continuous improvement, and this book provides a wealth of insight to help you achieve the next step forward.

  • Understand why small, simple projects consistently outperform larger, more complex projects
  • Delve into the project manager's role in generating successful outcomes
  • Examine the data from over 100 PMs of complex industrial projects
  • Link PM characteristics to project outcome to find areas for improvement

Complex industrial projects from around the world provide a solid basis for quantitative analysis of outcomes—and the PMs who drive them. Although the majority of the data is taken from projects in the petroleum industry, the insights gleaned from analysis are widely applicable across industry lines for PMs who lead complex projects of any stripe. Leading Complex Projects provides clear, data-backed improvement guidance for anyone in a project management role.

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xi

About the Authors xiii

Introduction Executive Summary 1

Chapter 1 Getting Grounded 9

Part One

Chapter 2 Methodology and Data 27

Chapter 3 The Unique Demands on Complex Project Leaders 45

Chapter 4 The Traits and Skills of Effective Project Leaders 63

Chapter 5 From Personality to Practice 91

Part Two

Chapter 6 Joseph Brewer 117

Chapter 7 Don Vardeman 129

Chapter 8 Nora’in MD Salleh and Dzulkarnain Azaman 149

Chapter 9 Jay Sexton 165

Chapter 10 Paul Harris 179

Chapter 11 David Young 195

Chapter 12 What Have We Learned and What Does It Mean? 215

Index 233