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Managing Complex Projects and Programs: How to Improve Leadership of Complex Initiatives Using a Third-Generation Approach by Richard J. Heaslip

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Chapter 4Rethinking the Roles and Responsibilities of Project Management Professionals

The Exasperados

None are more conscious of project management’s “identity crisis” than the project management professionals we discussed earlier—those “franchise athletes” who have grown exasperated in their long careers as project management professionals. We might call them project management’s Exasperados. It is important that we understand their perspectives.

As a group, Exasperados yearn to deliver more than just project outputs. They believe that their knowledge, skills, and experience make them uniquely capable of leading and managing the most complex of projects in pursuit of value. They seek to deliver their project’s desired outcomes. To be more effective in delivering outcomes, they have embraced many second-generation programmatic approaches. They have tried to assume more personal responsibility for balancing their projects’ sometimes-conflicting mandates to efficiently complete projects as planned, while also being prepared to quickly suspend and adapt those project plans in response to emerging outcomes. And to achieve an appropriate balance they have found it necessary to expand the scope of their roles and responsibilities.

Exasperados believe that they can, through their personal actions, make their projects more capable of adapting to emerging outcomes. Many have begun to manage their projects in ways that are more subjectively determined. And as they have, their courses ...

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