If you believe the latest statistics, most projects that organizations undertake fail. Dr. Harvey Maylor challenges the prevailing wisdom on project success and failure and argues that while for most businesses some projects do fail, most at least substantially deliver. In this interview, he explains how most studies fail to consider the complex nature of projects and describes the conditions required for achieving much greater levels of project success than are currently achieved.
You can catch Dr. Maylor at the 4th Annual Nordic Project Zone November 25th thru 27th, 2013 in Copenhagen.
I asked Dr. Harvey the following questions:
- You say that project management is core business and core activity for so many organizations today. Yet many of these same organizations treat project management as low level task instead of core strategic activity. What’s behind this dynamic?
- You challenge the claim that most projects fail and you day that for most businesses, while some projects do fail, most at least substantially deliver. Talk about why you question the prevailing wisdom on success and failure, based on your research.
- What makes programs and projects complex to manage and how can we understand the different forms of complexity?
- Deming said that 90% of the causes of error are the fault of the system. You say that 90% of the causes of project problems are behavioral. You propose that more process isn’t the answer. What are the implications then for the profession?
- You advocate a strategic approach to portfolio management that brings projects into the c-suite of our organizations. Can you elaborate on this idea?
About Dr. Harvey Maylor:
Dr. Harvey has been an academic and consultant for the past 23 years, and is currently Director of the International Centre for Programme Management at Cranfield University. He is the author of 5 management books, including the 4th edition of Project Management, Europe’s best-selling text on the subject, and more than 50 academic articles.
His academic work has focused on the application of research and development to solving problems for organisations. Particular interests are in delivering strategy, managing complexity, working in complex multi-supplier environments (including developing the idea of Intelligent Client), Advanced Project Thinking and how organizations adopt (or often don’t) promising practices.
He is also the founder of Project Management Publishing and Consulting Ltd., which offers high-level development in the business of projects. Current clients include Transport for London, BAE Systems (UK, Australia and Saudi Arabia) and Shell. Previous clients included UK Trade and Investment, Network Rail, Halcrow, QinetiQ and Pearce Group.
If you like this interview, you will also like: The Chaos Report Myth-busters.
- Our opening and closing theme song is music by the wonderful Paul Hardcastle and www.paulhardcastle.com