Thriving at the Edge of Chaos: Managing Projects as Complex Adaptive Systems

1st Edition

Jonathan Sapir

Productivity Press
Published November 22, 2019
Reference - 238 Pages - 10 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367404642 - CAT# 331590

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Summary

For many organizations, the way in which projects are managed is a fundamental factor in how well they can prosper in today’s marketplace. Unfortunately, the current solutions available to companies for managing projects are proving to be increasingly ineffective in a complex world that is becoming more and more dynamic and unpredictable.

Organization’s pay for this complexity in delayed time-to-market, slow response to customer needs, and decreased productivity. While tweaking the current project management paradigm may provide some minimal gains, to have a real impact requires a fundamental change in mindset.

New business models like Uber and AirBnB show us that the most efficient operations in today’s business environment behave like complex adaptive systems (CAS) where self-managing participants, following a set of simple rules, organize themselves to solve incredibly complex problems. Instead of trying to function like a "well-oiled machine" where things "work like clockwork", companies like Uber function more like an organism that is alive and constantly changing. They fully embrace the characteristics of a CAS.

Viewing an organization as a complex adaptive system drives a radically new philosophy of project management that is much better suited to the needs of the 21st-century organization and can provide the quantum leap improvement in project production that we are looking for.

This book exposes the assumptions underlying the accepted paradigm of project management, describes the common practices that are based on those assumptions, analyzes why these practices are unhelpful and even harmful, and proposes an alternative, sometimes seemingly counter intuitive approach to project management based on CAS thinking.

By the end of the book, the reader will have a completely new perspective on the way projects can be managed in their organization, and how they can quickly start reaping the benefits provided by a CAS-driven management methodology and supporting toolset that is more in tune with today’s business demands - and that turns complexity into a competitive advantage.

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