Project Management Institute

Beyond PM 101

lessons for managing large development programs

This paper reports lessons in project management that are focused on large, complex development programs. The lessons often contradict what one learns in smaller projects and in everyday life. The lessons derive from over 100 consulting studies of such programs that used an extensively evolved and validated series of dynamic simulation models. Unlike the usual postmortem "lessons-learned" compilations, the lessons here are demonstrable: The simulation models allow controlled experiments to identify with certainty which management strategies are successful and why. The lessons are rules of thumb for both planning and starting a program and responding to the unexpected, both in the small (normal design rework) and the large (major redesigns or scope changes). The lessons fall into three major areas: team architecture, managing rework, and managing the plan. The value of the lessons lies in enabling program managers to respond more appropriately within the large program environment.
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