The creation of public and government policy presents a “wicked” problem because it tends to be highly contested, involves many different stakeholders, and yields outcomes that change and evolve over time.
Developing Government Policy Capability examines the role project management plays in supporting how policy work is conducted. Using Australia’s controversial Tobacco Plain Packaging Bill 2011 as a case study, the authors explore the question: Can project management practices contribute to improving government policy development and implementation capability? Their argument—that project management can solve even “wicked” problems—is not necessarily new. As they explain, that’s pretty much what project management is all about.
Project managers need to clearly articulate, acknowledge, and legitimize invisible work—the bridge between what is being done and what is supposed to be done. The project management tool set and the importance of recognizing the societal dimension when planning and conducting projects can make it possible for practitioners to tackle even the most complex policy work.