Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor

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?

The Interview:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

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.

Contact Information:

Audio Links:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

If you like this interview, you will also like: The Chaos Report Myth-busters.

Credits…

 

9 Responses to Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor
  1. […] Samad Aidane interviews Dr. Harvey Maylor on his research into complexity, success criteria, and causes of error. Just 29 minutes, safe for work. […]

  2. Michel Dion
    November 19, 2013 | 9:56 pm

    As usual you have great podcasts with very interesting content. This one was very interesting, as I just wrote an article on project success, explaining why I also think that the rate of success is much underestimated.

    http://www.project-aria.ca/2013/11/11/on-project-success/

    • samad_aidane
      November 19, 2013 | 11:57 pm

      Michel,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

      You are so right when you said: it may be that the project did not successfully deliver what was initially planned. It may have delivered successfully something else, of equal of even higher benefits to the organization.

      The binary, black and white thinking that most of these project success/failure stats take is absolutely useless.

      I lost faith long ago in these statistics when I did an interview with a lead researcher who debunked the Chaos Report finding. You might really like this article:

      http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/the-chaos-report-myth-busters

      Thank you again and look forward to future contributions and collaboration.

  3. The “Chaos Report” Myth busters
    November 20, 2013 | 12:04 am

    […] If you like this interview, you will also like: Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor […]

  4. Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 23, 2013 | 1:52 am

    I agree with Harvey that the failure rates of projects which are often published by organisations who have an interest to dramatize and and exaggerate failures such as consult who want to acquire clients with the argument that they can helpt to prevent failures, and of media who earn more from failure headlines than from success stories, lead to an overly negative picture of projects and project management.

    But our scientific studies in Berlin show that there is a big variance in performance, and these variances can be exlained to a certain extent, particulary if people accept more realistic and more complex, multi-causal path influence models who also include non-linear influences. To make a robust estimate you need large data-sets and replicated studies and also longitudinal design.

    PM research is moving strongly upward in this direction, we also see very good conceptual papers advancing our understanding of temporary organisations like projects, and of very good qualitative studies, where a “case study” is more than a dozen of interviews.

    Hans Georg Gemünden, Editor-in-Chief of project management journal (pmj)

    • samad_aidane
      November 28, 2013 | 12:33 am

      Dr. Gemünden,

      Thank you so much for your contribution. I agree with you that indeed we do need a more evidence-based findings to understand the true nature of project failure. What has been frustrating for me at least is that the research that gets the widespread coverage in the media is the research that is not peer-reviewed or the type that can be reproducible. We are indeed ready to more robust research that you mentioned, especially one that is based on large data-sets and also longitudinal in nature.

      I would love the opportunity to share the findings of your research with our audience. Would you be interested in doing an interview or writing a guest post?

      Looking forward to learning more about your research.

      Thank you again.

  5. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 29, 2013 | 10:27 pm

    I am willing to give an interview about our research.

    • samad_aidane
      November 29, 2013 | 10:58 pm

      Thank you so much Dr. Gemünden. I will be in touch with you shortly via email to coordinate our interview. I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

  6. Gwains
    March 31, 2014 | 2:22 am

    Thank u so much sir.
    I agree with you, but today’s we have more advanced tools to do better project management of our project, and increase efficiency up to 100 %. We can reduce project failure rate by these tools, like Gwains.
    http://www.gwains.com

Leave a Reply to New PM Articles for the Week of November 4 – 10 | The Practicing IT Project ManagerThe Practicing IT Project Manager

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/advanced-project-thinking-a-conversation-with-dr-harvey-maylor/trackback

Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor

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?

The Interview:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

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.

Contact Information:

Audio Links:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

If you like this interview, you will also like: The Chaos Report Myth-busters.

Credits…

 

9 Responses to Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor
  1. […] Samad Aidane interviews Dr. Harvey Maylor on his research into complexity, success criteria, and causes of error. Just 29 minutes, safe for work. […]

  2. Michel Dion
    November 19, 2013 | 9:56 pm

    As usual you have great podcasts with very interesting content. This one was very interesting, as I just wrote an article on project success, explaining why I also think that the rate of success is much underestimated.

    http://www.project-aria.ca/2013/11/11/on-project-success/

    • samad_aidane
      November 19, 2013 | 11:57 pm

      Michel,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

      You are so right when you said: it may be that the project did not successfully deliver what was initially planned. It may have delivered successfully something else, of equal of even higher benefits to the organization.

      The binary, black and white thinking that most of these project success/failure stats take is absolutely useless.

      I lost faith long ago in these statistics when I did an interview with a lead researcher who debunked the Chaos Report finding. You might really like this article:

      http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/the-chaos-report-myth-busters

      Thank you again and look forward to future contributions and collaboration.

  3. The “Chaos Report” Myth busters
    November 20, 2013 | 12:04 am

    […] If you like this interview, you will also like: Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor […]

  4. Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 23, 2013 | 1:52 am

    I agree with Harvey that the failure rates of projects which are often published by organisations who have an interest to dramatize and and exaggerate failures such as consult who want to acquire clients with the argument that they can helpt to prevent failures, and of media who earn more from failure headlines than from success stories, lead to an overly negative picture of projects and project management.

    But our scientific studies in Berlin show that there is a big variance in performance, and these variances can be exlained to a certain extent, particulary if people accept more realistic and more complex, multi-causal path influence models who also include non-linear influences. To make a robust estimate you need large data-sets and replicated studies and also longitudinal design.

    PM research is moving strongly upward in this direction, we also see very good conceptual papers advancing our understanding of temporary organisations like projects, and of very good qualitative studies, where a “case study” is more than a dozen of interviews.

    Hans Georg Gemünden, Editor-in-Chief of project management journal (pmj)

    • samad_aidane
      November 28, 2013 | 12:33 am

      Dr. Gemünden,

      Thank you so much for your contribution. I agree with you that indeed we do need a more evidence-based findings to understand the true nature of project failure. What has been frustrating for me at least is that the research that gets the widespread coverage in the media is the research that is not peer-reviewed or the type that can be reproducible. We are indeed ready to more robust research that you mentioned, especially one that is based on large data-sets and also longitudinal in nature.

      I would love the opportunity to share the findings of your research with our audience. Would you be interested in doing an interview or writing a guest post?

      Looking forward to learning more about your research.

      Thank you again.

  5. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 29, 2013 | 10:27 pm

    I am willing to give an interview about our research.

    • samad_aidane
      November 29, 2013 | 10:58 pm

      Thank you so much Dr. Gemünden. I will be in touch with you shortly via email to coordinate our interview. I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

  6. Gwains
    March 31, 2014 | 2:22 am

    Thank u so much sir.
    I agree with you, but today’s we have more advanced tools to do better project management of our project, and increase efficiency up to 100 %. We can reduce project failure rate by these tools, like Gwains.
    http://www.gwains.com

Leave a Reply to New PM Articles for the Week of November 4 – 10 | The Practicing IT Project ManagerThe Practicing IT Project Manager

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/advanced-project-thinking-a-conversation-with-dr-harvey-maylor/trackback

Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor

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?

The Interview:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

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.

Contact Information:

Audio Links:

Listen now:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Right click here to download the MP3

If you like this interview, you will also like: The Chaos Report Myth-busters.

Credits…

 

9 Responses to Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor
  1. […] Samad Aidane interviews Dr. Harvey Maylor on his research into complexity, success criteria, and causes of error. Just 29 minutes, safe for work. […]

  2. Michel Dion
    November 19, 2013 | 9:56 pm

    As usual you have great podcasts with very interesting content. This one was very interesting, as I just wrote an article on project success, explaining why I also think that the rate of success is much underestimated.

    http://www.project-aria.ca/2013/11/11/on-project-success/

    • samad_aidane
      November 19, 2013 | 11:57 pm

      Michel,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment.

      You are so right when you said: it may be that the project did not successfully deliver what was initially planned. It may have delivered successfully something else, of equal of even higher benefits to the organization.

      The binary, black and white thinking that most of these project success/failure stats take is absolutely useless.

      I lost faith long ago in these statistics when I did an interview with a lead researcher who debunked the Chaos Report finding. You might really like this article:

      http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/the-chaos-report-myth-busters

      Thank you again and look forward to future contributions and collaboration.

  3. The “Chaos Report” Myth busters
    November 20, 2013 | 12:04 am

    […] If you like this interview, you will also like: Advanced Project Thinking – A conversation with Dr. Harvey Maylor […]

  4. Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 23, 2013 | 1:52 am

    I agree with Harvey that the failure rates of projects which are often published by organisations who have an interest to dramatize and and exaggerate failures such as consult who want to acquire clients with the argument that they can helpt to prevent failures, and of media who earn more from failure headlines than from success stories, lead to an overly negative picture of projects and project management.

    But our scientific studies in Berlin show that there is a big variance in performance, and these variances can be exlained to a certain extent, particulary if people accept more realistic and more complex, multi-causal path influence models who also include non-linear influences. To make a robust estimate you need large data-sets and replicated studies and also longitudinal design.

    PM research is moving strongly upward in this direction, we also see very good conceptual papers advancing our understanding of temporary organisations like projects, and of very good qualitative studies, where a “case study” is more than a dozen of interviews.

    Hans Georg Gemünden, Editor-in-Chief of project management journal (pmj)

    • samad_aidane
      November 28, 2013 | 12:33 am

      Dr. Gemünden,

      Thank you so much for your contribution. I agree with you that indeed we do need a more evidence-based findings to understand the true nature of project failure. What has been frustrating for me at least is that the research that gets the widespread coverage in the media is the research that is not peer-reviewed or the type that can be reproducible. We are indeed ready to more robust research that you mentioned, especially one that is based on large data-sets and also longitudinal in nature.

      I would love the opportunity to share the findings of your research with our audience. Would you be interested in doing an interview or writing a guest post?

      Looking forward to learning more about your research.

      Thank you again.

  5. Hans Georg Gemünden
    November 29, 2013 | 10:27 pm

    I am willing to give an interview about our research.

    • samad_aidane
      November 29, 2013 | 10:58 pm

      Thank you so much Dr. Gemünden. I will be in touch with you shortly via email to coordinate our interview. I am looking forward to it. Thank you.

  6. Gwains
    March 31, 2014 | 2:22 am

    Thank u so much sir.
    I agree with you, but today’s we have more advanced tools to do better project management of our project, and increase efficiency up to 100 %. We can reduce project failure rate by these tools, like Gwains.
    http://www.gwains.com

Leave a Reply to New PM Articles for the Week of November 4 – 10 | The Practicing IT Project ManagerThe Practicing IT Project Manager

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/advanced-project-thinking-a-conversation-with-dr-harvey-maylor/trackback