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Fundamental uncertainties in projects and the scope of project management

Published on Nov 1, 2006in International Journal of Project Management4.69
· DOI :10.1016/j.ijproman.2006.09.011
Roger Atkinson4
Estimated H-index: 4
(BU: Bournemouth University),
Lynn Crawford21
Estimated H-index: 21
(UTS: University of Technology, Sydney),
Stephen Ward22
Estimated H-index: 22
(University of Southampton)
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Abstract
This paper builds on discussions that took place over a series of meetings in the UK of the Rethinking Project Management Network. The management of uncertainty is seen as a necessary condition for effective project management. Sources of uncertainty are wide ranging and have a fundamental effect on projects and project management. These sources are not confined to potential events, and include lack of information, ambiguity, characteristics of project parties, tradeoffs between trust and control mechanisms, and varying agendas in different stages of the project life cycle. Common project management practice does not address many fundamental sources of uncertainty, particularly in ‘soft’ projects where flexibility and tolerance of vagueness are necessary. More sophisticated efforts to recognise and manage important sources of uncertainty are needed. Such efforts need to encompass organisational capabilities, including some aspects of organisation culture and learning.
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  • Citations (367)
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