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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 9Leading Complex Endeavors

The Journey So Far

In the first part of this book we explored how an organization’s growth, pursuit of more projects, and pursuit of projects that are inherently more uncertain and complex all result in changes that can make the management of projects and programs more difficult. We examined how organizations have responded to these challenges by expanding their review and governance systems and we observed that this expansion, while at times improving the management of some kinds of uncertainty and complexity (those that were operationally driven or outcome based), too often had the unintentional effect of increasing other kinds of uncertainty and complexity (stakeholder and organizational). We also observed that expansion of governance systems very often had profound effects on the roles and responsibilities of programmaticists—as perceived both by programmaticists and the stakeholders with whom they worked. This had frequently resulted in confusion and exasperation and, ultimately, the emergence of Exasperados.

The narrative told in the first part of this book was pieced together in a somewhat archeological fashion, by gathering snippets of information and insight from many programmaticists and executives, and arranging them on a timeline of “organizational evolution” that highlighted the common experiences in their individual journeys. It is an imperfect narrative when viewed from a historical perspective, but it is a valuable one. Upon ...

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