9 Informal Project Management


Over the past 30 years, one of the most significant changes in project management has been the idea that informal project management does work. In the 1950s and 1960s, the aerospace, defense, and large construction industries were the primary users of project management tools and techniques. Because project management was a relatively new management process, customers of the contractors and subcontractors wanted evidence that the system worked. Documentation of the policies and procedures to be used became part of the written proposal. Formal project management, supported by hundreds of policies, procedures, and forms, became the norm. After all, why would a potential customer be willing to sign a $10 million contract for a project to be managed informally?

This chapter clarifies the difference between informal and formal project management, then discusses the four critical elements of informal project management.


Formal project management has always been expensive and time-consuming. In the early years, the time and resources spent on preparing written policies and procedures had a purpose: They placated the customer. As project management became established, formal documentation was created mostly for the customer. Contractors began managing more informally, while the customer was still paying for formal project management documentation. Table 9-1 shows the major differences between ...

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