Managing Complex Projects and Programs – A Book Review
Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach is a comprehensive book about project and program management, its evolution, past and present processes, practices and limitations, and the need for a new approach. The book draws on the experiences, actual cases and insights of several people, the approaches they used in managing complex projects and programs, the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of traditional and agile PM approaches. It also presents a new approach for today’s modern organization that redefines roles and identifies needed competencies for third-generation project and program managers.
This first edition hard cover was published in September 2014 by Wiley. It has 336 pages and is about 0.9 inch thick. On a white background, the top of the front cover displays the author’s name, then the title in large fonts below it, then the subtitle further below it with an image of a complex, multiple ring-like structure on the lower left. At the bottom right is the publishing company. ISBN-10: 111838301X; ISBN-13:1118383018
Managing Complex Projects and Programs is for project and program leaders/managers, project sponsors and top executives. It is ideal for those with PM experience, being familiar with traditional processes or agile practices or both. This is valuable especially to those who have had struggled and experienced failures in leading complex initiatives.
What Customers Say
RJ McGreal described the book as a useful reference for the practitioner who wants a better understanding of organizational forces and how to manage them better. He also stated that it is useful for executives who wish to improve the organization, its processes and how it selects future project and program managers.
Kathleen McKenna described it as a clear and insightful read for any project or program manager who wants to handle complexities successfully.
Content, Approach, Style
Managing Complex Projects and Programs is divided into two parts. The first part is titled Professional Project and Program Management – Yesterday and Today. Under it are 8 chapters that discuss the exhilaration and exasperation associated in leading projects and programs, a history of PM process (first generation), profession, and organization response, an evolution of approaches (second generation), a rethinking of roles and responsibilities and so on. The second part is titled The Promise and Practice of Third-Generation Programmatics. Under it are 6 chapters that discuss leadership for complex endeavors, a new perspective, introducing the third-generation approach, and so on.
The book shares the experiences and insights of the author and other people about leadership roles associated in complex projects and programs mostly in the pharmaceutical industry. It defines programmatic science and describes how this social science can develop a better understanding for organizations to lead and manage their projects and programs. The paragraphs are of readable length, using plain language with occasional but defined new terms. It uses headings, footers, breaks, bold and italicized fonts for proper pause and focus, and various charts for presenting ideas visually.
Why Buy the Book
Managing Complex Projects and Programs gives an insightful account from the perspective of a veteran project/program manager and executive of a large organization in a knowledge-based industry. Project and program professionals will certainly find similarities in the setting and challenges even when in a smaller organization. The lessons, insights and proposed new approach will bring new perspective and better preparation in managing complexities under a familiar setting.
Books that Complement
The Four Intelligences of the Business Mind by Nazemoff is another book for executives and business leaders to help improve the organization.
Dr. Shugart’s Leadership in the Crucible of Work is an insightful read that examines deeply the roles and quality of leaders as they do their work and as work transforms them.
Richard Heaslip is the Founder and President of Programmatic Sciences, LLC, a company that offers custom training and consultation services to help organization improve their abilities to initiate programs and projects as well as establish a leadership culture that promotes innovation, agility and productivity. Rick received his BA in Research Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He then received his Ph. D. in Pharmacology from the Ohio State University. He was an accomplished pharmaceutical industry executive where he was Vice President for Project and Portfolio Management at Wyeth Research. Rick also developed Penn University’s curriculum in Program Management and Leadership as part of its postgraduate coursework. He is a contributing author for the PMI’s Standard for Program Management Third Edition, and a frequent speaker at conferences for topics about leadership, organization, PPM and pharmaceutical industry best practices.