Anton Rossouw Pmoz 2009 Adaptive Project Management


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Applying complexity science to project managment during change

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Anton Rossouw Pmoz 2009 Adaptive Project Management

  1. 1. 10-12 August 2009, National Convention Centre, Canberra Adaptive Project Management Applying a Complexity Science approach to Project Management during organisational change. PhD Student: Anton Rossouw
  2. 2. Introduction  The challenge of Change:  “We are all trying to cope with a cataract of interwoven technological, economic, societal and ecological changes on a global scale” (McMillan, 2008, p14)  Equilibrium is death ! (Pascale et al., 2000)  “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one that is most responsive to change” Charles Darwin 1859  Introducing Complexity science as a view of dynamical change, and interpreting it for use during projects as Adaptive Project Management.
  3. 3. Acceleration of change  Post 1950’s Information Age Megashift (Naisbitt,1982).  Instant access to information accelerates our lives and the pace of change (Gleick, 2000).  Globalisation, social networking communities, virtual worlds.  Projects are recognized as instruments of change (Blake and Bush, 2009).  Change models such as Complexity Science (Dooley, 2004) that will help us to improve the way we deal with change.
  4. 4. Complicated vs. Complex  Complicated System  Linear behaviour, Predictable.  Equal to the sum of its parts.  Complex System  Non-Linear responses, unpredictable behaviour.  Positive and Negative feedback, spontaneous emergence.  Cannot be adequately described by analysing the components alone. Source: Cilliers,1998.
  5. 5. In the “Zone” Ralph Stacey’s Agreement and Certainty Matrix: (Stacey,1996) More from Macmillan at
  6. 6. Complexity Science  A shift away from the predictability of classical science.  A new multidisciplinary science, still emerging, with various interpretations and definitions. Offers a fundamental world-view shift (Dent, 1999).  Time driven dynamical systems; that are “living”, learning, evolving and spontaneously self-organising.  Open to environmental interaction, nonlinear behaviors, unpredictable emergent phenomena, self-organising.  Order for free at the edge of chaos (Kaufman, 1993).  Evolution and collapse of societies (Diamond, 2005).
  7. 7. Map of Complexity evolution Source : Brian Castellani :
  8. 8. Complexity in Action Robot powered by Physarum slime mould. Sources (17 June 2009) : Jazz Improvisation Manchester UK: Source: Johnson (2001) Source: Johnson (2007) Image 22 June 2009 Google Earth Ant Farm Simulator: Source (17 June 2009) : Flocking behaviour – 3D Boids: Source (17 June 2009)
  9. 9. A Mindset Shift  Traditional worldview  Emerging worldview  Reductionism, external focus  Holism, internal and external  Singular linear causality  Mutual non-linear causality  Objective reality  Perspectival reality  Determinism  Indeterminism  Survival of the fittest  Adaptive self-organisation  Discreet entity focus  Relationship focus  Either/Or thinking  Polarity thinking  Modern/Classical  Postmodern  Hierarchical levels  Heterarchy within levels  Prediction and control  Understanding and facilitation  Patriarchy  Equality  Logic  Paradox  Physics  Biology  Deterministic equilibrium  Patterns and lifecycles  Top down influenced behaviour  Bottom up emergent behaviour  Focus on Directives  Focus on Feedback  Specialist  Generalist  Assembly  Morphogenisis  Focus on averages  Focus on variations and trends Source: Dent 2001, p8
  10. 10. Complex Adaptive Systems  Many interacting time driven agents, system wide emergence, learning and adaptation, self organising.  Rich short-range information exchange, with positive, negative, direct and indirect feedback.  Non-linear cause and effect, open to feeding on and exchanging energy from the environment.  Historical “memory” of the past influences current action and future evolution, seeking advantage for itself.  High energy evolution happens far from equilibrium at “edge of chaos” learning, low energy leads to collapse. Source: Cilliers, 1998.
  11. 11. CAS Diagram CAS : Source (22 June 2009)
  12. 12. Complexity and Management Science  Consistent response against traditional Taylorist command-and-control management practiced today (McMillan, 2008).  A shift from working on (apart from) to working within (a part of) the organisation.  Organisations are change challenged complex adaptive systems (Anderson, 1999).  Applied as models and metaphors for strategic management (Stacey, 2007), change management (McMillan, 2004), learning (Anderson, 1999).
  13. 13. Complexity and Project Management  Project management (Ivory and Alderman, 2005, Cooke-Davies et al., 2007, Jaafari, 2003).  Information systems development projects (Benbya and McKelvey, 2006).  Project social capital (Weaver, 2007).  Innovation projects (Harkema, 2003).  Project based organisations (Sato et al., 2004).  Agile methodologies (Meso and Jain, 2006).
  14. 14. The project as a Hierarchy
  15. 15. To the project as a Network Agent X Legitimate Network Shadow Network L M A O B N C D E R P F Q Project 1 Organisation A G J H S U K I T Project 2 Adapted from Stacey,1996 Organisation B Environment / Landscape
  16. 16. Complexity perspective on Change Traditional Dynamical Linear Non-Linear Disruptive Creative Cause and Effect Opportunistic Incremental Revolutionary An Event Continuous Calamitous Turbulent Controllable Uncontrollable Abnormal Normal Predictable Unpredictable Source: McMillan,2004, p67
  17. 17. Adaptive Project Management  An interpretation of complexity as applied to projects as Complex Adaptive Systems:  A new model for dynamical adaptive change management.  Participative leadership influence is more effective than the traditional command and control management styles.  Supplemental to (not a replacement of) traditional models.  The balancing act of integrating the Complicated (mechanism) and the Complex (organism) into an outcome.  Spontaneous re-organisation happens at the right conditions. Adapt and evolve the plan (not time) and seek the free order.  Rich interactive environments with communication fuels “edge of chaos” creative and innovative spontaneous events.
  18. 18. Value of Complexity thinking?  A new way of understanding the adaptive dynamics of organisations, projects and change.  The promise of emergent order for free.  Innovative change happens at the edge of chaos.  The influence of leadership as a-part-of the system.  Leadership can be formal and also emergent.  Accentuate the importance of memory, start-up rules, diversity and the power of close communication.  Anticipate non-linear unexpected events. Understanding the space between logic and paradox.
  19. 19. Resources  Santa Fe Institute:  Plexus Institute:  Complexity Society:  Emergence Journal:  Ralph Stacey: study/business/research/complexity-and-management- centre/home.cfm  Book: KAUFFMAN, S. (1995) At Home in the Universe: The Search for Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity, New York, Oxford University Press.
  20. 20. References (1)  ANDERSON, P. (1999) Complexity theory and organization science. Organization Science, 10, 216-232.  BENBYA, H. & MCKELVEY, B. (2006) Toward a complexity theory of information systems development. Information Technology and People, 19, 12-34.  BLAKE, I. & BUSH, C. (2009) Project Managing Change : practical tools and techniques to make change happen, Harlow, Pearson Education.  CILLIERS, P. (1998) Complexity and postmodernism: Understanding complex systems, London and New York, Routledge.  COOKE-DAVIES, T., CICMIL, S., CRAWFORD, L. & RICHARDSON, K. (2007) We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto: Mapping the strange landscape of complexity theory, and its relationship to project management. Project Management Journal, 38.  DENT, E. B. (1999) Complexity science: a worldview shift. Emergence, 1, 5-19.  DIAMOND, J. (2005) Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, New York, Viking Penguin.  DOOLEY, K. J. (2004) Complexity science models of organizational change. IN POOLE, S. & VAN DE VEN, A. (Eds.) Handbook of organizational change and development. Oxford, Oxford University Press.  GLEICK, J. (2000) Faster: The Acceleration of Just About Everything London, Abacus.  HARKEMA, S. (2003) A complex adaptive perspective on learning within innovation projects. The Learning Organisation, 10, 340- 346.  HOLLAND, J. (1998) Emergence from Chaos to Order, New York, Oxford University Press.  IVORY, C. & ALDERMAN, N. (2005) Can Project Management Learn anything From Studies of Failure in Complex Systems? Project Management Journal, 36, 5-16.  JAAFARI, A. (2003) Project management in the age of complexity and change. Project Management Journal, 34, 47-57.  JOHNSON, S. (2001) Emergence: The connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software, London, Penguin Books.  JOHNSON, N. (2007) Two's Company, Three is Complexity : A simple guide to the Science of all Sciences, Oxford, Oneworld Publications.
  21. 21. References (2)  KAUFMAN, S. A. (1993) The Sciences of Complexity and "Origins of Order". IN BROCKMAN, J. (Ed.) Creativity - The Reality Club 4. New York, Touchstone.  MCMILLAN, E. (2004) Complexity, Organizations and Change, London, Routledge.  MCMILLAN, E. (2008) Complexity, Management and the Dynamics of Change - Challenges for practice, London, Routledge.  MESO, P. & JAIN, R. (2006) Agile software development: Adaptive systems principles and best practices. Information Systems Management, 23, 19-30.  NAISBITT, J. (1982) Megatrends: Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, New York, Warner Books.  PASCALE, R., MILLEMANN, M. & GIOJA, L. (2000) Surfing the edge of chaos : the laws of nature and the new laws of business, New York, Crown Business.  SATO, C. E. Y., DERGINT, D. E. A. & HATAKEYAMA, K. (2004) Project-Based Organizations as Complex Adaptive Systems. Portland International Conference on Management of Engineering and Technology Symposium. Portland State Univeristy, Portland OR, USA, LACTEC Institute of Technology for Development, Brazil.  STACEY, R.(1996) Complexity and creativity in organizations, San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.  STACEY, R. (2002), Strategic management and organisational dynamics: the challenge of complexity. 3rd ed. Prentice Hall, Harlow  STACEY, R. (2007) Strategic management and organisational dynamics: The challenge of complexity to ways of thinking about organisations, 5th e. Harlow, Essex, Pearson Education Limited.  TAYLOR, F., W. (1911) Principles of Scientific Management, New York, Harper & Bros.  WEAVER, P. (2007) A Simple View of 'Complexity' in Project Management. WPM Week. Singapore.
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