Reinventing Project Management
The Adaptive Diamond Approach
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"It's December, and "best of" lists are appearing everywhere. Here, too. So, if you are still searching for great gifts for the business-book reader in your family, you can't go wrong with any of these titles: "Reinventing Project Management," Aaron Shenhar and Dov Dvir. A look at project management that goes way deeper, and is far more useful, than "on time, on budget, to requirements"."
John Caddell, Monday, December 17, 2007
"I could spend some time discussing the diamond approach but wouldn’t do it justice and I don’t think that it is the most important take-away from this book. The major take-away for me is that this book says what I’ve been saying for years: Project Management requires a more flexible approach than current methodologies allow."
Eric D. Brown, December 3, 2007
"My initial reaction to Reinventing Project Management by Shenhar and Dvir was mixed. I was initially super-thrilled to see a publisher as prestigious as Harvard Business School Press publishing a book that openly talked about the need for a new model of project management. Thankfully a quick skim through the book - I haven't read it cover to cover - proved that my fears were ill-founded.
The authors actually espouse much of what we captured in the PM Declaration of Interdependence that formed the basic principles and foundation for the Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN). Particularly the concept that project management solutions need to be situationally specific. While this isn't a full review of the book, I do want to bring it to our collective attention and ask you to consider it as your next project management book purchase."
David J. Anderson, Oct 05, 2007, http://www.agilemanagement.net/
"This month’s Professional Reading List contains three books that I believe you’ll find quite interesting. The first book focuses on reinventing project management and the requisite project planning and managing processes. The authors offer some unique solutions and advice for capturing lessons learned and making traditional project management more adaptive for today’s competitive business environment."
LTG N. Ross Thompson III, USAASC, Online Monthly, September/October, 2007
"If you've worked on more than a handful of projects in your business career, you are familiar with failure. Lots of projects simply don't work right: some are abandoned before they're complete, others don't meet expectations, others finish but are so agonizing that they burn out teams and managers both. A new book, "Reinventing Project Management," by Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir, dissects the topic in great detail. It's a refreshing look at project management, not least because they focus less on the discipline of work breakdown structures and task dependencies and more on what different projects try to achieve and how methodologies and management approach must adapt to the needs of the project."
John Caddell, Monday, September 10, 2007
- A. P. Sage
- Industrial Mgmt
- K. Sharma
- Stevens IT
- E. D. Brown
- E. Pearlman
- Ind Eng
Information Knowledge Systems Management 6 (2007) 363
Reinventing Project Management: The Diamond Approach to Successful Growth and Innovation by Aaron Shenhar and Dov Dvir is a recent 276 page text published by the Harvard Business School Press in August 2007.
Briefy, this is an excellent work on modern project management in systems engineering. The primary subject covered is the authors’ diamond framework for managing projects that is comprised of four dimensions: novelty, technology, complexity, and pace. Much of the work is also devoted to how to successfully put this diamond framework to work. Associated with the many discussions of project management and project deliverables, the authors also devote much attention to project risk, project scope, project strategy and execution and relatively comprehensive discussions of requirements, technology, and operations management.
The authors view projects as the engines that drive an innovation from an initial conceptual idea to ultimate commercialization. The authors suggest that many contemporary projects fail, and that the failure occurs largely because conventional project management concepts cannot be readily adapted to contemporary dynamic business environments. Also, it is suggested that many top managers often neglect their company’s project activities while line engineering managers often treat all their projects as alike, as a routine part of conventional operations management.
This book is based on a study of more than 600 projects in a large variety of businesses and organizations worldwide. Through this, the Reinventing Project Management book truly does provide a new model for managing projects that is a highly adaptive model for use in systems planning and systems management of projects to achieve superior enterprise results in terms of innovation and growth.
The work is clearly very useful as a text for systems engineering and management efforts concerning project management, for those involved in academic business management courses in these areas also, and for industrial and government use as well.
Andrew P. Sage
Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research George Mason University
Research - Technology Management review on Reinventing Project Management
A Harvard Business School Press book summary
Reinventing Project Management - The Diamond Approach to Successful Growth and Innovation by Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir
• The “Diamond Framework” can help you map your project’s “novelty, technology, complexity and pace,” and to identify and manage risk.
• Fulfilling customers’ needs is a more important project requirement than meeting the deadline or budget.
• If you can imagine how the project will look to someone in the future, you will see more clearly which aspects matter most.
• Prototypes can help you study customer reaction to possible breakthrough products.
• Risk of product failure rises directly with the technical complexity of the project.
• The formality of project management must rise with the complexity of the project.
• The urgency of a crisis requires you to act immediately. You should have contingency plans in place so you will have a framework for action if an emergency arises.
• Use a matrix to find and approve projects with high benefit and low risk.
• Customer requests can help you improve platform products.
• Constantly identify and develop future project managers.
What You Will Learn
In this Abstract, you will learn: 1) How the “Diamond Framework” will increase your project’s success; 2) Why customer satisfaction is a project’s most important goal; and 3) How to determine which project components to outsource and which to leave in-house.
Most projects fail because conventional project management concepts cannot adapt to a dynamic business environment. Based on many case studies, this book provides a new, highly adaptive model for planning and managing projects. Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir explain how to use their “Diamond Framework” to understand the nature of your projects, and diagnose the gaps between your current capabilities and what is needed to make the project a success. They suggest using four bases to evaluate projects, to help employees understand the priorities and to take charge of projects in a more systematic and compelling way: “novelty, technology, complexity and pace.”
Follow the Diamond
Businesses engage in two general categories of activities to make money. The first is making and selling products on a repetitive basis as part of normal operations. The second is handling new, perhaps one-off, projects. The number of new projects has greatly increased in most companies because products have a much shorter life cycle due to intense competition and the market pressure for novelty.
Project management has become a robust discipline with many competent practitioners. But despite the professionalism of project managers and the best efforts of project team members, many projects still fail. Even when managers deliver projects on time and on budget, they may still not meet the needs of their customers. So much about projects is uncertain, a problem compounded by today’s need for more adaptability than traditional models allow.
Managers also sometimes misunderstand the common elements in their projects and try to reinvent the wheel. This takes too long, is too costly and requires an impossible amount of expertise. The “Diamond Framework” (also called the NTCP model) uses four bases to analyze projects, so that everyone involved can gain a better understanding of what needs to be done:
1. “Novelty” – How intensely new are crucial aspects of the project?
2. “Technology” – Where does the project exist on the scale from low-tech to superhigh-tech?
3. “Complexity” – How complicated are the product, the process and the project?
4. “Pace” – How urgent is the work? Is the timing “normal, fast, time-critical or blitz”?
Place these four bases on a four-axis graph. If each factor is in the moderate range, the graph will be shaped like a perfect diamond. However, no project has this ideal pattern, and that is not a goal you should pursue. The purpose of the graph is to figure out the actual structure of the project compared with the present capabilities you have on hand to execute the project. The differences between the two will show the gaps that have to be filled to make the project a true success.
What constitutes a successful project? The Sydney Opera House came in many years late and about 1,500% over budget, yet it is now a symbol of national pride and a global tourist destination. Certainly, the short-term view of schedule, budget and quality are important, but they are often less important than customer satisfaction in the long-term view of stakeholders. Project management must take all stakeholders’ short- and longterm considerations into account.
Project and team efficiency are important, but think of the long-range perspective. Does anything change about the project when you consider it from a future point of view? Does the project have sufficient flexibility to adapt to new requirements as fresh information becomes available? Are the project team’s incentives aligned with customer happiness and product performance, as well as with deadline and budget requirements?
The diamond framework allows managers to see the gaps between where the project is and where it needs to be. Understanding the gaps allows managers to select the right team members and resources. The framework also reveals areas of uncertainty and risk in ways that invite appropriate decisions in the planning stage, where they will do the most good. Now, consider each realm of the framework.
Novelty: New Creations
Most projects create something, but their projects have varying degrees of newness or novelty. A “derivative product” is a revised offering of a successful product, such as new colors, sizes or convenience features. Creating product requirements and marketing programs for these products is fairly straightforward. They are often used to extend product life and milk the cash cow. These projects are fairly low-risk and pose few future concerns. Managers should freeze the new product’s requirements around the time that the project begins.
A new version of an existing product is a “platform novelty.” Such projects need a great deal of analysis and market research. Product requirements usually remain in flux until midproject, due to adjustments in the face of knowledge gained by studying the market. The new version has to please existing customers, ride current market trends and meet the challenge of competitive offerings. Marketing has to build the product’s image and emphasize its advantages.
“Breakthrough products” present more challenges because they do not yet have defined markets that the manufacturer can exploit. Market research is less reliable because potential customers have not experienced the product. The product design is really a best guess, based on the expertise of the designers. Trial-and-error is an important part of the design and development process, and the project team must collect feedback from generations of prototypes.
Highly creative marketing is necessary to grab attention. You can use samples and introductory pricing to persuade customers to try the product, but it must win them over by meeting needs the customers themselves may not be aware that they have. A truly breakthrough product should try to become the market standard in its space.
Technology: Technical Difficulty
The uncertainty in a project is a measure of the mix of new and mature technology it requires, as well as the company’s existing knowledge. Newness to the market and newness to the company represent different kinds of uncertainty, but the way these issues merge in any given project determines its level of technological uncertainty. Lowtech projects have almost no technological risk, but they require maximum efficiency to gain returns. As the level of technical complexity increases, so does the risk of failure and the likelihood that efficiency will fall.
Superhigh-tech projects are subject to delays, cost overruns and risks of product failure. If a product is low-tech, technical requirements must be frozen early in the process to gain efficiency. With a high-tech project, requirements must stay open longer to take advantage of knowledge gained during the project. The mix of technologies will have an effect on which people you select for the project team.
Complexity: Measuring the Complications
The complexity base measures the three different types of complexity within a project and assesses how they are organized. A higher degree of complexity means a greater interaction between the parts, which requires more formality in project management.
1. Assembly – The lowest degree of complexity is concerned with the materials, components, subsystems and actual process of assembly, and usually focuses on building a specific, relatively straightforward, self-contained product.
2. System – This measure provides information on how complicated manufacturing the product will be. For example, computers have a system level of complexity, as do ships, cars and buildings. Even intangible products, such as complex software and business reorganization, fit this category. External organizations often coordinate projects at this level of complexity. These projects have a medium to high risk.
3. Array – These projects consist of coordinating multiple systems and are usually hugely complex; for example, the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France. Usually a central firm will control the many subprojects, but coordination and negotiation between the largest stakeholders is crucial. These projects use signed legal contracts and formal project specifications managed by a tightly organized bureaucracy. Many external stakeholders often influence these high-risk projects.
Pace: A Sense of Urgency
The ideal completion date for every project is yesterday. However, some projects are more time-sensitive than others. The pace measurement captures the urgency of time in the success of the project. Competitive pressures push good ideas to market as quickly as possible. A project with a normal pace has considerations more important than the schedule. People may complain about timing in these projects, but, in reality, meeting the schedule is a nice-to-have factor rather than a must-have. The risk is that late delivery will waste competitive advantage or market leadership.
Time-critical projects are those where failure to meet the project and milestone deadlines can result in project failure because a window of opportunity will close. Blitz projects are crisis projects with extremely urgent timing. Getting to these projects as soon as possible is too late. Project managers will need contingency plans to handle the emergency. These events include natural disasters, acts of war and business crises.
Diamonds at Work
Project managers can use the diamond framework to foster business innovation. Map proposals on a matrix to show low-to-high benefit opportunity and low-to-high risk difficulty. You can approve projects with high opportunity and low risk immediately, and drop those with high risk and low opportunity. The kind of innovation embodied in the project will change the shape of the diamond and indicate the style of management the project needs.
The audience for successful innovative items changes over the product’s lifecycle. Innovators are the first to buy a revolutionary product and early adopters are the next. An innovative product needs to bridge the gap between the early adopters and the early majority, buyers who accept the product as its technology becomes widely understood. The company that succeeds in selling at this point is not always the first to market.
Even a company that listens to its customers may still miss revolutionary opportunities. This is the “innovator’s dilemma.” Motorola’s reluctance to invest in new digital technology in the late 1990s allowed its Asian and European competitors to overtake the leader in the market. The diamond framework can help management distinguish between the platform products that customers will ask for, and the breakthrough products the company can pursue to disrupt the marketplace and capture great rewards.
Most established businesses have an existing project plan, most often based on the classic project model of define, plan, execute and termination. The problem is that almost no projects are so linear. Once project execution starts, reality will push some aspects back to the planning or definition stages. The diamond framework can predict the likelihood of these iterations by showing how far out on each axis the project is.
You can also use the model to decide which parts of a project to outsource. With any given increment, the closer each of the four bases is to the center, the more likely it is that you can outsource that element. The further out on an axis an element goes, the higher the risk and the greater the talent required to make it work. Handle these risky aspects in-house or manage them internally if you hire outside expertise.
Each industry has a different profile when mapped on the framework. Heavy equipment is different from pharmaceuticals, which is different from consumer goods and so on. Within each industry, any given customer has a different value proposition than any other customer. Customers’ requirements will differ, as will their demands for features, support and availability. Understanding your customers is the beginning of developing and running a successful project.
The adaptive project management approach embedded in the diamond framework is more suited to the demands of the modern competitive environment than the traditional linear project management model. Meeting schedules, budgets and performance requirements remains important, but the larger goal of a project is to serve customer needs and generate good business results. A project has a much higher chance of success if the best people go into project management, so be on the lookout for new talent.
About the Authors
Aaron J. Shenhar is professor of management at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey. Dov Dvir is head of the management department at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. He has 20 years of project management experience.
Industrial Management review on Reinventing Project Management
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Technological Forecasting & Social Change 75 (2008) 452 – 455
Reinventing Project Management: The Diamond Approach To Successful Growth and Innovation, A.J. Shenhar, D. Dvir, Harvard Business School Press, Boston, MA, 2007, 276 pp
Project management is a significant activity for many organizations. Projects may involve extending capability of the current products or services in existing or new markets, development of entirely new products for existing or new markets, or even efforts to retire a product and exit the market. Project management as a subject and discipline has been around for several decades. Much has been written on the subject. And, quite a few people and organizations profess their project management expertise.
Yet, history reveals that the success rate of project management is low. The authors' state: “85 percent of the projects we studied failed to meet time and budget goals, with an average overrun of 70 percent in time and 60 percent in budget.” (pp. 5). And, the failure rate is tied not just to a specific type of industry or product or the experience of project managers.
So, why do even the well-planned projects, run by experienced managers, fail? The authors suggest: “The common theme of all these failures was that executives as well as project teams failed to appreciate up front the extent of uncertainty and complexity involved (or failed to communicate this extent to each other) and failed to adapt their project management style to the situation.” (pp.7).
The authors build on this finding an approach that they believe will help improve success rate of the projects. The authors call it the “adaptive project management approach” that views project not just as series of activities or operations but as “business related process that must deliver business results”. The project management style also has to adapt to the specific type of project. The adaptive approach has two major aspects. First, it emphasizes the use of project success criteria as an integral part of project planning and management. Second, it uses a diamond-shaped framework to help differentiate projects in terms of their risks and benefits and a set of rules and behaviors that fit the specific project type.
The adaptive approach involves establishing the specification and selection of success criteria up front, during project planning. The project manager and the project team would the use these criteria to guide and evaluate the progress of their work. The success criteria will need to go beyond the traditional measures related to budget and time. Specifically, five criteria are suggested:
-Project success measured in terms of meeting time and budget goals.
-Impact on the customer to address meeting customer satisfaction, benefits and loyalty.
-Impact on the project team that considers personal growth, retention and satisfaction of team members.
-Business results measured in terms of return on investment, market share, and growth.
-Preparation for the future to assess how the project will prepare the company for using new technologies, reaching new markets, and providing new capabilities.
The authors suggest that failure criteria must be specified as well, to anticipate what might go wrong.
The diamond model and analysis tool classify a project based on its novelty, technology, complexity and pace. Each dimension includes three or four project types. There is a specific diamond associated with each project and affects project management in specific manner. Specifically, the diamond consists of the following four bases:
-Novelty: represents the uncertainty of a project's goal(s) and in the market. Novelty allows considering how clearly project requirements can be defined up front. Novelty is of three types: derivative, platform, and breakthrough. Derivative product is an extension of existing products. Platform product is a new generation of existing products that can replace an existing product, a new car model for example. Breakthrough product is an entirely new product for the market, a product that the customer has probably not seen before, Apple's iPod for example.
-Technology: represents the task uncertainty in terms of technology used for the project. Technology includes four project types: low-tech, medium-tech, high-tech, and super-high-tech. Low-tech project relies on existing technology; medium-tech prodject employs existing technology but with new features; high-tech project uses technology that is new to the firm but may already exist; and, super-high-tech project uses technology that does not exist when the project is initiated. Technology impacts the length of time and number of iterations required to get the right design and be able to release the design specifications. This dimension also helps determine the technical skills required by the project.
-Complexity: represents the complexity of the product and tasks. It includes three types of projects: assembly, system, and array. Assembly project combines parts and sub-assemblies into a product. System project involve collection of interacting components and subsystems. Array project deals with a large, widely distributed collection of systems that must work together to accomplish a common purpose, telecommunication and electric power networks for example.
-Pace: represents the timeliness of the project — how urgent the project is to a company. Pace includes four project types: regular, fast/competitive, time-critical, and blitz. For a regular project, time is not critical for project success. Fast/competitive projects are the most common ones, deployed to address market opportunities. Time critical project has firm time-to-complete deadlines, Y2K project for example. Blitz projects have urgency and most time-critical, crisis response projects for example.
The diamond model (N, T, C, P model) can thus help identify the project type along these four dimensions and the project style that will need to conform to that model. For example, a project that is “derivative”, “medium-tech”, “system” and “fast/competitive” will need to be managed very differently than a project that is “breakthrough”, “high-tech”, “system” and “blitz”. The latter type of project will require more sophisticated ways to manage the risks, resources, project team, and the interactions with company executives.
In essence, the diamond model provides a conceptual and practical framework that can be used by project manager to plan and manage the activities, risks, resources and involvement of the team members and company executives. The authors provide many examples of past projects whose success or failure can be understood by comparing the actual and required style of project management. For example, the authors suggest that a reason for the problems encountered by the FCS (military Fire Control Systems) project was due to the gap between the actual and required styles. The project was managed as platform, medium-tech, assembly, and fast/competitive project. But, the required style should have been platform, high-tech, system, and fast/competitive...
The book consists of three parts. Part 1: A New Model for Managing Projects consists of three chapters that explain the motivation and foundation for the authors' work and also include a detailed discussion of the diamond framework. Part 2: The Four Bases of Successful Projects, consisting of four chapters, explains, in more detail, the four bases of the diamond model. Part 3: Putting the Diamond Approach to Work, consisting of four chapters, discusses how the diamond approach can be used by various types of organizations. A quite useful part of the book is the seven Research 86 Appendices where the authors provide details of their work over many years leading to the work reported in this book. These appendices indicate the rigor and experiences that underlie the approach presented in this book.
A number of cases are included to illustrate by examples the ideas presented in various chapters. In Chapter 2, The Sydney Opera House and the Los Angeles Metro subway cases are presented to illustrate what makes projects successful. Chapter 3, on the diamond framework, includes cases on FCS, a military fire control system, Sony's Walkman, The BMW Z3 automobile, the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, and the World Trade Center. Cases to illustrate the novelty dimension include the creation of the Toy Story movie, the Segway personal transportation system, and a financial middleware software program. Chapter 5 on technology includes cases on the Denver International Airport, The SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft, NASA's Apollo moon landing program and the Space Shuttle program. To illustrate the complexity dimension, cases include the Ford 2000 restructuring effort, the English Channel tunnel, and the Harmony project which is a software project in the telecom arena. Chapter 7 on pace dimension includes cases on NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter, and the Y2K problem. Several cases address the issue of how to use the diamond approach; these include: selection of IT projects in a large media corporation, the Market Watch software project, the invention of flash memory, the history of microwave oven, the Quadrant model, and a wire coating project.
The authors seem to have extensive experience in project management. And, they have strong opinions in some areas and useful insights for project managers, project team and company executives. Some examples:
-“Top managers frequently look at project budgets as a cost, not an investment, and see project activities as part of operations. They rarely appoint a “chief project officer” or vice president of projects, and their project teams are left on their own with little guidance from the top.” (pp. 7)
-“Most modern projects are uncertain, complex and changing, and they are strongly affected by the dynamics of the environment, technology and markets.” (pp. 10)
-“You must learn how to control and manage your project's uncertainties. There are two major types: the what and the how uncertainties. These correspond to the uncertainty of requirements and the uncertainty of technical specifications and design, which are measured by project novelty and technology. No project can freeze the final requirements and then start working on designing the product. These uncertainties are resolved simultaneously, until the final requirements are frozen and the 116 design completed.” (pp. 185)
-“Rather than “plan your work, and work your plan,” you should plan some of your work, work that plan, and then replan the next piece of your work and so on. Plan only for those things that you are highly certain will not change.” (pp.187)
-“Project management is not about delivering a project on time, on budget, and within requirements. Instead, project management is about serving a customer need and creating business results to support the company's short-and long-term objectives.” (pp.206)
-“Project management is not a universal activity with one set of rules and processes for all projects. Rather, it is situational and contextual, and one size does not fit all. To succeed in projects you must use an adaptive project management approach, adopting your project management style to the environment, the goal, and the project task.” (pp. 206–207)
-“Treat project management as the next core of your competitive assets. Raise the awareness of managers at all levels about the potential of their projects. Make clear that project management is not the business only of project managers.” (pp. 209)
The authors close the final chapter by predicting that project management will evolve to become a more strategic activity, focusing not only on how to get the job done but also to satisfy the customer and improve the bottom line of the company.
Overall, this book will be a useful addition to the bookshelf of a project manager. The authors have done a nice job in presenting a new conceptual framework for planning and managing complex projects. I would have liked more discussion of how the conceptual framework, the diamond model and the associated tool, can be better integrated with the traditional approaches to project management, particularly with the widely used project management techniques and tools. The authors do provide some details, especially in Chapter 9. However, the discussion is more conceptual than tactical.
Still, the authors have provided here a valuable and useful work on project management.
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30 November 2007
January 9, 2008
Patrick A. Berzinski
Shenhar’s “Reinventing Project Management” named among “5 Best Business Books for 2007”
Book published by Harvard Business School Press is cited
HOBOKEN, N.J. ― Stevens Institute of Technology’s Professor Aaron J. Shenhar’s book, “Reinventing Project Management,” co-authored with Professor Dov Dvir, which was published recently by Harvard Business School Press, has been named among the “Five Best Business Books of 2007.”
The top-five list appeared in December via the online technology newsletter, Shop Talk: Innovation, Marketing and Alliances.
The list was compiled and published by John Caddell, the founder and principal of Caddell Insight Group, a consulting firm focused on using business narrative, launching new products and businesses, and negotiating alliances. A recognized expert in telecommunications, outsourcing and enterprise software, he has more than 20 years experience in high-tech product development, operations and marketing.
“If you've worked on more than a handful of projects in your business career, you are familiar with failure,” writes Caddell, in reference to the book’s topic. “Lots of projects simply don’t work right: some are abandoned before they’re complete, others don’t meet expectations, others finish but are so agonizing that they burn out teams and managers both.
“‘Reinventing Project Management’ dissects the topic in great detail. It’s a refreshing look at project management, not least because [the authors] focus less on the discipline of work breakdown structures and task dependencies and more on what different projects try to achieve and how methodologies and management approach must adapt to the needs of the project.”
About the Authors
Dr. Aaron J. Shenhar is the institute professor of management and the founder of the project management program at Stevens Institute of Technology. He holds degrees in engineering and management from Stanford University and the Technion in Israel. He is a recipient of the Engineering Manager of the Year Award of IEEE, and the PMI Research Achievement Award. Dr. Shenhar accumulated more than 20 years of technical and management experience at a leading high-tech organization in the defense industry in Israel. In his academic career, he has published more than 150 publications in innovation management, project management, and the management of professional workers. He served as a consultant to leading high-technology organizations such as 3M, Honeywell, Dow Jones, NASA, BMI, Liz Claiborne, IAI, and the US Army.
Professor Dov Dvir is the head of the Management Department at Ben Gurion University in Israel.
About Stevens Institute of Technology
Founded in 1870, Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the leading technological universities in the world dedicated to learning and research. Through its broad-based curricula, nurturing of creative inventiveness, and cross disciplinary research, the Institute is at the forefront of global challenges in engineering, science, and technology management. Partnerships and collaboration between, and among, business, industry, government and other universities contribute to the enriched environment of the Institute. A new model for technology commercialization in academe, known as Technogenesis®, involves external partners in launching business enterprises to create broad opportunities and shared value. Stevens offers baccalaureates, master’s and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science and management, in addition to a baccalaureate degree in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has a total enrollment of 2,040 undergraduate and 3,085 graduate students, and a worldwide online enrollment of 2,250, with about 400 full-time faculty. Stevens’ graduate programs have attracted international participation from China, India, Southeast Asia, Europe and Latin America. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at www.stevens.edu.
For the latest news about Stevens, please visit www.StevensNewsService.com.
Book Review: Reinventing Project Management
by Eric D. Brown on December 3, 2007
I just finished reading “Reinventing Project Management” by Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir and I have to say that I really enjoyed this book.
The full title of the book is “Reinventing Project Management: The Diamond Approach to Successful Growth & Innovation” and, as the title suggests, it covers an approach that the authors call the “Diamond Approach” to determining risks and benefits of a project. The diamond is comprised of the following items:
I could spend some time discussing the diamond approach but wouldn’t do it justice and I don’t think that it is the most important take-away from this book. The major take-away for me is that this book says what I’ve been saying for years: Project Management requires a more flexible approach than current methodologies allow.
On page 206 the authors list the “Main Lessons” from the book…lessons that are pure gold for project managers and organizations. I’ve listed a few of the ones that I thought were ‘gold’ and also provide commentary below.
Project Management isn’t about delivering a project on time, on budget and within scope; its about serving a customer and delivering results.
How true. Many PM’s are so focused on staying within the ‘Iron Triangle’ of scope, time and budget that they lose track of the business value that they are (or should be) delivering to their clients.
To succeed in projects you must use an adaptive project management approach, adapting your project management style to the environment, the goal and the project task.
The rigidity of modern PM methodologies causes many problems for those PM’s that try to adhere to them in a strict manner. To lead a project to success, PM’s must be able to think on their feet and adapt the PM methodologies to the ever-changing environment.
Overall, this book is definitely worth the time it takes you to read.
How To Avoid Project Failure
by Ellen Pearlman
Much has been written over the years about how once ballyhooed projects have turned out badly. Denver International Airport is just one example of a project that was well-managed and yet still had extensive delays (sixteen months longer than planned) and enormous cost overruns ($1.5 billion). The problem, according to Aaron Shenhar and Dov Dvir in their book "Reinventing Project Management," was the automatic bag-handling system, one component of the complex project that was higher risk than the rest of the endeavor but was "treated as if it was a standard, well-proven subsystem."
Project management is not the sexiest business and technology subject. However, companies that learn to manage their projects to a successful conclusion have an advantage over their competition. Shenhar and Dvir believe that one of the common mistakes among the companies and management teams they studied is they "failed to appreciate upfront the extent of uncertainty and complexity involved (or failed to communicate this extent to each other) and failed to adapt their management style to the situation."
It probably won't surprise you that most project problems are managerial and not technical. But knowing that doesn't help managers come up with the right approach if they aren't asking the right questions before they put the systems in place to measure success. And if you're thinking that it's the occasional project that fails, think again. The Standish Group estimated that of the $382 billion spent in 2003 on IT projects in the U.S., $82 billion was a total waste. Moreover, one-third of the failed projects had overruns of 200 to 300 percent. And of the more than 600 projects that Shenhar and Dvir studied over 15 years, 85 percent failed to meet time and budget goals, with an average overrun of 70 percent in time and 60 percent in budget.
The authors contend that traditional project management guidelines are a good place to start for basic training in the art of project management. The standard approach for project management, they say, is "based on a predictable, fixed, relatively simple, and certain model." However, it is "decoupled from changes in the environment or in business needs."
The complex problems that projects face today require project managers to go beyond declaring success when a project is completed on time, within budget, and within performance goals. A new adaptive project management approach that is geared to the individual needs of a project is needed. The authors call for a business-focused, success-oriented project approach that takes into consideration strategic and tactical aspects of project performance in both the short and long term.
The new success criteria, according to the authors, should involve at least five metrics:
1. Project efficiency: meeting time and budget goals
2. Impact on the customer: meeting requirements and achieving customer satisfaction, benefits and loyalty
3. Impact on the team: satisfaction, retention and personal growth
4. Business results: return on investment, market share and growth
5. Preparation for the future: new technologies, new markets and new capabilities
Since projects differ in many ways, the authors also offer managers a way to distinguish and classify the type of project they are dealing with through a diamond-shaped framework. The framework has four dimensions that help alert managers to the type of project they have:
* Novelty—the uncertainty of the project's goal and/or market
* Technology—the level of technological uncertainty
* Complexity—the level of complexity of the product, task and project organization
* Pace—the urgency of the project
Each of the four dimensions affects different aspects of project management. The authors used this framework to analyze the successes and failures of the many projects they studied. In the unsuccessful projects they examined, they often found gaps between the projects required characteristics (based on the four dimensions of the diamond framework) and the actual management style that was used for the projects. What makes this new approach valuable is its focus on managing projects for business results and not just on meeting time and budget goals.
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Reinventing Project Management provides [an understanding of how to execute] in a clear, concise and thoughtful manner. --Automotive Design and Production, November 2007
Projects are the engines that drive innovation from idea to commercialization. In fact, the number of projects in most organizations today is expanding while operations is shrinking.. Yet, since many companies still focus on operational excellence and efficiency, most projects fail—largely because conventional project management concepts cannot adapt to a dynamic business environment. Moreover, top managers neglect their company’s project activity, and line managers treat all their projects alike—as part of operations.
Based on an unprecedented study of more than 600 projects in a variety of businesses and organizations across the globe, Reinventing Project Management provides a new and highly adaptive model for planning and managing projects to achieve superior business results.
About the Author
Aaron J. Shenhar is the Institute Professor of Management and the founder of the Project Management Program at Stevens Institute of Technology. Dov Dvir is the head of the Management Department at Ben Gurion University in Israel.
Projects are the engines that drive innovation from idea to commercialization. In fact, the number of projects in most organizations today is expanding while operations is shrinking. Yet, since many companies still focus on operational excellence and efficiency, most projects fail--largely because conventional project management concepts cannot adapt to a dynamic business environment. Moreover, top managers neglect their company's project activity, and line managers treat all their projects alike--as part of operations. Based on an unprecedented study of more than 600 projects in a variety of businesses and organizations around the globe, "Reinventing Project Management" provides a new and highly adaptive model for planning and managing projects to achieve superior business results.
Deliverables, Project management, Project risk, Project scope, Project strategy, Requirements management, Strategy & execution, Technology & operations.
Reinventing Project Management makes the Harvard Business Top 10 books
Number of Reviews: 2
Average Rating: Customer Rating for this product is 4.5 out of 5
A guide to managing your projects
Rolf Dobelli (firstname.lastname@example.org), Founder and Chairman of getAbstract, 01/18/2008
Most projects fail because conventional project management concepts cannot adapt to today’s dynamic business environment. This book, which is based on many case studies, provides a new and highly adaptive model for planning and managing projects. Aaron J. Shenhar and Dov Dvir explain how to use their “Diamond Framework” to understand the nature of your projects, and diagnose the gaps between your current capabilities and what you need to do to make your projects succeed. Their flexible model provides valuable information for evaluating and managing projects for the maximum competitive advantage. We recommend this book to managers who want to strengthen their ability to take charge of projects in a more systematic and compelling way.
This book is for professional always questioning what is next
A.Burak Cetiner (email@example.com), New Projects Leader, 10/09/2007
While this book brings a conceptual approach to the project management, it also supplies practicle tools which you can use for the improvement and growth of your business. The professionals who already have acquaintance with the basics of project management and seeking for WHAT IS NEXT in this area, will get great pleasure and enthusiasm from this book. Some of the concepts which are new for me as follows: The four bases of successful projects: 1.Novelty 2.Technology 3.Complexity 4.Pace Beyond Time, Budget, and Performance 'What are the criteria for successful projects': * Project efficiency, * Impact on the customer, * Business and direct success, * Preparation for the future.
Projects are the engines that drive innovation from idea to commercialisation. In fact, the number of projects in most organisations today is expanding while operations is shrinking. Yet, since many companies still focus on operational excellence and efficiency, most projects fail - largely because conventional project management concepts cannot adapt to a dynamic business environment. Moreover, top managers neglect their company's project activity, and line managers treat all their projects alike - as part of operations. Based on an unprecedented study of more than 600 projects in a variety of businesses and organisations across the globe, "Reinventing Project Management" provides a new and highly adaptive model for planning and managing projects to achieve superior business results.
"I was so impressed with your book after I read the first chapter that I
initiated a Project Management Book Club for the PMs in our Dallas
office. We're reading and discussing your book Reinventing Project
"Congratulations, I like the book very much. Finally, someone has the courage to say that not all projects are alike, and that "conventional" tools are not enough. I could not agree more, but you already knew that.
Regards, and congratulations one more time, great book!!"
"I value the concepts your research provides in Reinventing Project Management. I begin work as a Senior Program Manager in a Silicon Valley high tech firm in 3 weeks and will apply the NCTP diamond to evaluate the project management style currently in use against your recommended style."
Daryl Mullins, PMP
"However, I think your new book is absolutely excellent and will provide the leading text in the field, which I will use for both teaching and research.
Thank your both very much for your collective efforts. I'm sure the book will be widely read and used by academics and practitioners."