Surfing on the edge of chaos--developing the master project manager

Interest in project management is growing at an astonishing rate and an industry is growing up around project management training and education. At the same time, there is growing recognition that projects are becoming more complex and requiring new skills to manage. This presentation reviews current project management educational practises and compares them to the educational processes that experts suggest will be necessary for preparing professionals for managing the complexity of today's projects and organizations. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. If we continue to "train" project managers in standard project management tools and techniques when we know that projects themselves are changing and project management results are not what we would like to see, we are coming perilously close to Einstein's concern. Educational experts suggest that the education needed to be able to cope with complexity, paradox and uncertainty is significantly different than that needed to deal with stable situations. It is time to reflect on project management educational practise and think about what needs to come next. Complexity theory provides a foundation for our discussion. Furthermore, we review current project management education programs as they are advertised in terms of what they do and don't contribute to developing master project managers capable of dealing with the paradoxical and unpredictable complexity of projects embedded within organizations and dancing on the edge of chaos. We conclude with a review of the benefits of web based education in addressing these needs.
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