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Master Project Managers


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									Preparing project managers to deal
with complexity
Advanced project management education

Janice Thomas, PhD
Program Director, MBA in PM
Athabasca University

Thomas Mengel, PhD
Associate Professor, Leadership Education
University of New Brunswick

   Why do we need Advanced PM
   How do we develop PM’s today?
   What do we need to do to prepare PM’s
    for complexity??

      Bournemouth, Sept 2007           2
Why do we need Advanced PM?

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The Old Model

        –World is predictable
        –Work is routine
        –Estimates are possible
        –Standardization improves results
        –Minimize change
        –Security thru rigor

   Bournemouth, Sept 2007                   4
    Newtonian PM Models

A                                    B

    A project is a team based organizational
    activity undertaken to create a unique product
    or service within defined schedule, cost and
    performance parameters
        Bournemouth, Sept 2007                       5

   Projects consistently miss objectives
    – Anatomy of Major Projects
          Morris & Hough 1984
    – Chaos, Extreme Chaos
          Standish reports, 1994, 2001, 2002…
    – Mega Projects and Risk
          Flyvberg et al. 2003

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    Newtonian PM Models

A                              B

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So what do we do:

   Increase training and research
   Join Associations
   Build PM0’s, move PM up the org
   Increase standardization, codification,
    certification, professionalization
   Move to Agile methods

                 Resulting in some improvement
       Bournemouth, Sept 2007                 8
Why isn’t it working?

   All these approaches assume that we
    know how to manage projects
   Is this true?
             Doing the same things and expecting
                   different results is the definition of
                                          Albert Einstein
                         Might be “Newtonian Neurosis”
      Bournemouth, Sept 2007              Doug DeCarlo 9
Why do we need Advanced PM?

   Trained and or certified project managers are no
    more successful than “accidental” project
    managers in today’s complex world (Crawford, 2005)
   Current certification level pm training fails to
    prepare project management students for
    complexity (Crawford, Morris, Thomas and Winter, 2006)
   Role of complexity, chaos, and uncertainty is
    gaining recognition in both research and practice
    (Ives, 2005)

         Bournemouth, Sept 2007                      10
The Edge of Chaos

We live in “a world where chaos and order
exist in tandem,
where stability is never guaranteed but
chaos always conforms to a boundary”
                                       Margaret J. Wheatley,
                             Leadership and the New Science

    Bournemouth, Sept 2007                             11
New Model (s)

   Post Modern
        –Uncertainty reigns
        –Work is Complex, Flexible,
         Customized, Unique
        –Murphy’s laws rule
        –Welcome change
        –Security by relaxing controls
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    Quantum PM Models

A                                         B

                                     Surfing on the edge
                                     of chaos
    A project is a complex adaptive system that
    requires learning and responsive adaptation.
        Bournemouth, Sept 2007                         13
Newtonian                       Quantum
           Values efficiency          Values effectiveness
– Deliver planned results        – Deliver desired Results
– Planning drives results        – Results drive planning
– Correct to baseline            – Correct to what’s possible
– Manage tasks
                                 – Manage relationships
– Employ robust policies and
  procedures                     – Employ guidelines and
– Eliminate mistakes
                                 – Reward mistakes

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Which is better?

   It Depends. . .

    – On your organization’s maturity
    – On the type of projects you undertake
    – On your people
    – 0n the content in which you operate

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What kind of PM do we need to be
successful in this environment?

   Bournemouth, Sept 2007    16
   How do we develop expertise?

Level of
Proficiency                      Journeyman


                                 Experience and Training
        Bournemouth, Sept 2007                         17
Apprentice PMs…

    Learn the formulas and
     “most projects most of the time”
     knowledge of the field
    Focus on “know what”
    Develop Cognitive Intelligence of PM
    Work within established guidelines
    Practice on simple projects
      Bournemouth, Sept 2007            18
Journeyman PMs…

   Learn context dependent and
    independent PM knowledge
   Develop know how, know where, know
    when knowledge
   EQ knowledge becomes important
   Refine PM guidelines
   Competently manage systems projects
      Bournemouth, Sept 2007        19
Master PMs …

   Develop holistic and intuitive approach
   Act as trusted advisers
   Are accountable
   Deliver workable value
   Provide context dependent and
    appropriate PM policies, practices &
   Lead complex adaptive projects where
    the traditional rules of PM fall short
      Bournemouth, Sept 2007              20
      Developing PM Competency
                 Apprentice       Journeyman Master
Level            Novice           Competent         Expert
Nature of        Context          Both              Intuitive,
Knowledge        independent      dependent &       holistic,
                                  independent       synthetic
Relation to      Reactive         Relational /      Orientational /
environment                       Responsive        Interpretive

Roles            Team Leader      Project Mgr       Project Leader
Knowledge        Analytical       Analytical        Intuitive Leaps
Application      deliberation     Interpretation

Development Project Exp.          Proj Mgt Exp.     Requires “Giving
              Formal Educ.        Business Skills   Back”
path     Bournemouth, Sept 2007                                  21
                                  Advanced PM
How Do We Develop Project
Managers today?

    Bournemouth, Sept 2007   22
    How Do We Develop Project
    Managers today?
   2004 Study of REP and University Websites
     – 6,982 REP programs, 12 universities
     – Only 580 REP offerings (8%) and 1 university
       program explicitly target advanced (PMP)
     – Most programs emphasize PMBOK Guide and
       / or “best practices”
     – Little evidence of taking complexity theory
     – Complexity or complex referred to the nature
          the project
       ofBournemouth, Sept 2007not the underlying assumptions
 How Do We Develop Project
 Managers today?

• 2005 PMI REP Meeting Toronto
  • recognizes 85% of REP training is on basics
    and dissemination of “best practices”
  • encourages development of higher level
    training and development material
  • focus still on content provision

     Bournemouth, Sept 2007                  24
    How Do We Develop Project
    Managers today?
   2007 Study of REP and University
    – 12,500 REP programs, 15 universities
    – Only 954 REP offerings (8%) and 2
      university programs explicitly target
      advanced (PMP) audience
    – Most programs emphasize PMBOK Guide
      and / or “best practices”
    – Little evidence of taking complexity theory
       Bournemouth, Sept 2007                   25
What do we need to do to
prepare project managers
for complexity?
   Build programs based on how adults learn
    and develop expertise
   Take into account different types of
   Learn from the 15+ year head start
    management learning and education has in
    critical and complexity education

       Bournemouth, Sept 2007                  26
      How Do Adults Learn?
                                         Stage 1:
                                        Having an                 What?

   Stage 4:                         Experience
                                                                      Stage 2:
 Testing the
                                                                    Reviewing the
of concepts     Application                          Reflection      experience
    in new
  situations                      Generalization
                                      Stage 3:
                                    Formation of
   Now What?                          abstract                    So What?
                                    concepts and
               Bournemouth, Sept 2007                                         27
                                        Based on Kolb’s Model of Learning in Adults
Developing PMs for Uncertainty
and Complexity…

           Mengel & Thomas, 2004 building from Marshall and Zohar
   Bournemouth, Sept 2007                                     28
Developing Master PMs

   Accepting new objectives
    – Reduced focus on content and analytical
    – Emphasize developing skills to deal with
      ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty
    – Decision making, negotiation,
      prioritization, flexibility, communication,
      and adaptability become key
    – Role of Project Manager as Business
      Bournemouth, Sept 2007                        29
    Developing Master PMs
   Covering new content on:
    – organizational, project and environmental
      context and inter-relationships
    – strategy, finance, leadership, networking,
      knowledge management, cross cultural, ethics
      and values
    – coping with continuous change, self-organized
      dynamics, virtual and cross cultural comm.
    – self-knowledge
    – various frames of reference
    – skills to build and contribute to high-
         Bournemouth, Sept teams
      performance2007                          30
Developing Master PMs
   New methods of delivery
    – Flexibly fit with work lives of senior
    – Encourage questioning of theory and practice
    – Provide opportunity to apply new models to
      educational and practical situations
    – Facilitate sharing experience and knowledge
      with peers and instructors
    – Enable/require reflective practice as a portion
      of the educational model
    – Developing models of co-learning
       Bournemouth, Sept 2007                    31

   If we need Master PMs, then our
    development of PMs must adapt to provide
    the skills and competencies needed
   Today’s educational offerings largely aim at
    transferring know what and know how
    regarding “most projects most of the time”
    and “best practices”
   Master PM preparation and training is largely
    left to the individual practitioners
        Bournemouth, Sept 2007                  32
    Master PM programs should…
   Go beyond basics of BOKs
   Focus on accomplishment rather than control
   Depend on a sustained transfer of knowledge
    and experience between practitioners and
   Focus on developing RPs capable of customizing
    PM practice to context
   Prepare PMs to live with and lead through
    ambiguity, uncertainty, and change

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