Project Management in Extreme Situations: Lessons from Polar Expeditions, Military and Rescue Operations, and Wilderness Exploration (Leading Works from the French School of Management)
The growing complexity of projects today, as well as the uncertainty inherent in innovative projects, is making obsolete traditional project management practices and procedures, which are based on the notion that much about a project is known at its start. The current high level of change and complexity confronting organizational leaders and managers requires a new approach to projects so they can be managed flexibly to embrace and exploit change. What once used to be considered extreme uncertainty is now the norm, and managing planned projects is being replaced by managing projects as they evolve.
Successfully managing projects in extreme situations, such as polar and military expeditions, shows how to manage successfully projects in today’s turbulent environment. Executed under the harshest and most unpredictable conditions, these projects are great sources for learning about how to manage unexpected and unforeseen situations as they occur. This book presents multiple case studies of managing extreme events as they happened during polar, mountain climbing, military, and rescue expeditions.
A boat accident in the Artic is a lesson on how an effective project manager must be ambidextrous: on one hand able to follow plans and on the other hand able to abandon those plans when disaster strikes and improvise new ones in response. Polar expeditions also illustrate how a team can use "weak links" to go beyond its usual information network to acquire strategic information. Fire and rescues operations illustrate how one team member’s knowledge can be transferred to the entire team. Military operations provide case material on how teams coordinate and make use of both individual and collective competencies.
This groundbreaking work pushes the definitions of a project and project management to reveal new insight that benefits researchers, academics, and the practitioners managing projects in today’s challenging and uncertain times.