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Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach

Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach

Richard J. Heaslip

ISBN: 978-1-118-41741-6

Aug 2014

336 pages




With the increasing demands of the global business environment, many leaders observe that their organizations struggle to manage complex strategic initiatives. Managing Complex Projects and Programs examines why and offers a solution.

Drawing on the insight of experienced executives and program and project managers from a diverse range of real-world industries, Managing Complex Projects and Programs:

  • Examines the common reasons for poor performance of modern projects and programs
  • Introduces new guidelines and an innovative leadership framework for solving performance issues
  • Provides organizations with a roadmap for redefining the roles of project and program management professionals

Whether you are a current program or project manager, a student of program or project management, or an executive seeking to prepare your organization for a complex and uncertain future, Managing Complex Projects and Programs will challenge you to rethink your approach for managing strategic initiatives and ensuring your organization’s success

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Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xxi

Part 1 Professional Project and Program Management—Yesterday and Today 1

Chapter 1 The Exhilaration and Exasperation of Project and Program Leadership 3

Leading Projects and Programs 4

Chapter 2 The Emergence of Project Management: First-Generation Programmatics 13

Project Management’s Beginnings 13

Project Management Processes 17

A Growing and Challenging Profession 19

Organizational Responses 21

Chapter 3 The Evolution of Project Management: Second-Generation Programmatics 25

Phase-Gate Approaches 25

Circumstance-Specific Approaches 26

Current Perspectives and Needs 29

An Identity Crisis 31

A Time for Action 32

Chapter 4 Rethinking the Roles and Responsibilities of Project Management Professionals 35

The Exasperados 35

Programmaticists and the Management of Complexity 38

A New Credo 40

Understanding Project and Program Complexity 41

Operational Uncertainty and Complexity 43

Outcome Uncertainty and Complexity 45

Stakeholder Uncertainty and Complexity 47

Environmental Uncertainty and Complexity 49

Organizational Uncertainty and Complexity 51

Reactions to the Complexity Framework 53

Use of the Complexity Framework 55

Chapter 5 Stakeholder Views about the Roles and Responsibilities of Programmaticists 61

Diversity of Views 61

Three Conceptions of a Programmaticist’s Role 63

The Traditionalist Perspective 63

The Operationalist Perspective 66

The Inclusivist Perspective 68

Adoption and Value 70

The Need for Different Kinds of Programmaticists 72

Chapter 6 Modern Problems with Traditional Management Models 77

The Two-Party Fully Governed Project Oversight Model 77

Limitations of the Model 81

Problems with Background Documents 83

Problems with Operational Decision Making 86

Problems with Strategic Decision Making 89

Unsatisfied Needs for Expertise 92

A Search for Solutions 94

Chapter 7 Adaptations of the Traditional Two-Party Fully Governed Project Oversight Model 97

Stakeholder Stories 97

Organizational Growth 99

The Benefits of Growth 99

Responding to Growth-Related Challenges 100

Operational, Technical, and Strategic Review Committees 102

The Unintended Consequences of Review Committees 105

Impact on Decision Making and Programmatic Complexity 107

Portfolio Expansion 110

The Benefits of Pursuing Larger Numbers of Projects 110

Responding to Portfolio-Related Challenges 111

Mixed-Function Review and Governance Committees 115

Business Governance Committees 117

More Unintended Consequences 120

Increased Project Size, Uncertainty, and Complexity 122

The Benefits of Large and Uncertain Projects 122

Establishment of Within-Project Infrastructure 123

The Unintended Consequences of Within-Project Infrastructure 126

The Establishment of Specialty Review and Governance Committees 130

The Unintended Consequences of Specialty Review and Governance Committees 133

Challenges Ahead 134

Chapter 8 Moving Forward 137

Other Approaches 137

Downsizing the Organization 137

Transferring Governance 139

Redefining the Role of a Programmaticist 140

Operationalist Approaches Re-Examined 140

Inclusivist Approaches Re-Examined 145

Building a Centaur 148

Elements of an Improved Project

Oversight Model 153

Part 2 The Promise and Practice of Third-Generation Programmatics 155

Chapter 9 Leading Complex Endeavors 157

The Journey So Far 157

Leadership That Resolves Complex Problems 159

Critical Leadership Roles 163

Adaptive Leadership and the Outcome Sage–Programmaticist 168

Chapter 10 A New Perspective on Programs and Program Management 171

From Adaptive Leadership to Program Management 171

What Is a Program, Really? 174

Redefining Program Management 180

Redefining Projects and Project Management 183

Is It a Program or Is It a Project? 185

Barriers to Acceptance 192

Chapter 11 Introducing Third-Generation Programmatics 195

The Complexity-Management Roles of Project and Program Management 195

Defining Third-Generation Programmatics 197

Roles and Responsibilities in the Three-Party System 200

Projects Sponsored by Governing Committees 203

Programs Sponsored by the Governing Committee 204

Subprograms Sponsored by Programs 209

Other Activities Sponsored by Programs 212

Benefits Expected from the Third-Generation Programmatics Approach 213

Benefits of Distinguishing Projects from Programs 214

Benefits of Distinguishing Project Management from Program Management 217

Benefits of Implementing the Three-Party System 223

Chapter 12 The Decision to Implement Third-Generation Programmatics 225

Choosing Between Two-Party and Three-Party Systems 226

Challenges Faced When Implementing Third-Generation Programmatics 229

Organizational Maturity in the Programmatic Sciences 229

Defining Programmaticist Authority and Autonomy 230

(Re-)Assigning Current Project and Program Managers 235

Identifying and Assigning New Project and Program Managers 238

Defining Reporting Relationships for Program and Project Managers 240

Establishing Departments of Program Management and of Programmatic Science 244

Chapter 13 Developing Programmatic Leadership Competencies 247

The Needs of a Leader 247

Defining “Appropriate” Leadership Behaviors 253

Insights from Research on Program Management Competency 260

Leadership Challenges 264

Defining “Ideal” Leadership Systems and Behaviors 268

Chapter 14 Becoming a Third-Generation Programmatics Organization 271

Applying the Principles of Third-Generation Programmatics 271

Twelve Questions to Answer 275

Deciding to Use a Third-Generation Programmatic Oversight System 279

Life, Viewed Programmatically 282

Final Thoughts 283

Afterword 285

Glossary of Newly Introduced Terms 287

Suggested Readings 295

Standards and Guides in Program and Project Management 295

First- and Second-Generation Programmatics 295

Distinctions between Projects and Programs, Project Management and Program Management 296

Complexity Management 296

Program Leadership Competency Development 297

Index 299