Generating opportunities from constraints--ethics for project success

Stefano Setti, PMP, Director at Large, PMI – Northern Italy Chapter

Abstract

From their investigating about complexity theories and their appliance to management context, authors assume that projects are Complex Adaptive Systems, i.e., systems characterized by self-organizing, emerging and unpredictable behaviours at the “edge of chaos.”

In this scenario, project constraints become the most important factor to generate and leverage opportunities to guarantee project success:

Constraints define the possibility to exist, to be distinguished from the surrounding context and to identify possible scenarios to become reality

Constraints allow and leverage creativity

Constraints make cooperation possible and make collective action effective and successful

Constraints are the key factor to promote “awareness” which only can guarantee the best level of performance along time.

The idea of ethics as a constraint is then investigated, to introduce a new paradigm for ethics in projects, according to which ethics can be considered as a key factor to produce opportunities and success, instead of being perceived as a limit to stakeholders’ power: In the end some concrete suggestions are proposed to promote the establishment of the new ethical approach.

Introduction

Ethics in collective imagination of present-day world is usually referred to as a set of rules of conduct, recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture, that define what is right and what is wrong and how people have to behave accordingly.

But in our western culture and general “common-feeling,” very often, the normative and prescriptive aspect of ethics are the only ones that are taken into account, while the moral basis of ethics, the dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions, are nearly forgotten. Ethics is inclined to be considered as a duty, a limitation, a “cost” to be paid, an imposed and unavoidable system of rules for “controlling” (and reducing) individual freedom in favour of the community “peace” and survival.

This is true in projects as well. When ethical codes are adopted and ethical policies are introduced, usually a strong communication strategy is set up, as a way to turn the investment into a commercial advantage (ethical is fancy) and retrieve sustained costs. It seems to be just profit logics. Otherwise it would not be necessary to announce ethics. It would be evident.

We believe another idea of ethics is possible, much more worthwhile and profitable. We think it is possible to feel ethics a desired status more than an imposed condition; to make it condition for “wellness” that promotes freedom, power and success.

To make it happen in projects, consolidated paradigms in projects and project management have to be reconsidered and new variables have to be included in the “big picture.”

Projects are Complex Systems

A Humanistic View for Projects

Project is a word…

We like words. Words define, words create, words tell, words allow things happen. So let’s start from words. It’s interesting to investigate the origin of the word “project”. “The Latin prefix pro-, “forward”, points to an Indo-European conception to which we owe the fore of the boat as well. Progress: “to walk forward”. Process: the steps of those who proceed (give way without opposing any resistance). Produce: “to bring forward”, “to bring out”. Program: “written beforehand”. Planning: “designing on a plane surface”. Prophecy, too: “foretelling”.

The project is part of the same context: from the Latin pro-jacere, “to throw forward, to project”, to throw an arrow or a spear, in the way we throw dice. […]

In Italian, on the contrary, the idea of project has been divided in two: on one side we have “proiettare”, “proiezione” (to project, projection); on the other side “progettare”, “progetto” (to plan, project). Therefore, even though it’s wise, when possible, to express ideas in a maternal language, not a merely technical one, a language That makes sense in everyday life too- when one wants to refer to “project” in the proper full sense, the use of the English word, project, is better: because I am not just planning, as we would say in Italian. I’m also projecting myself in some tomorrow, in a never-existing-before place. I’m casting a projectile towards a target I cannot see” (Varanini et al., 2009, pp. 6-7).

It’s the idea of exploring an unknown and uncertain future to produce something that will become real but cannot be exactly predicted now. From a more philosophical point of view “the main point in a project is the bridging of two dimensions a philosopher would define ontologically different, that is: a project is “the means to make true what is possible” or “an instrument to give an example of the future” (Varanini et al., 2009, p. 90).

… and words tell fascinating stories.

Fascinating perspectives are brought to light when we listen to words and let them tell their stories.

When we become aware of the idea the word “project” defines, represents and brings to us, we understand that projects cannot be reduced to a faithful fulfillment of an already existing schema. Project means “to create a not yet existing world”, a feat where we deal with complexity and uncertainty and act at the same time as thaumaturgies and observers to “realize” the best possible result. It’s a new approach, concerning the chance to make the future come true, and it requires a general re-thinking of how projects are traditionally considered and managed nowadays.

Complex Systems

What is a complex system?

In science, a complex adaptive system (C.A.S.) is defined as “a system composed of a great number of elements, both in type and in quantity, which are characterized by non linear connections (that is, the reciprocal influences of action and reaction existing in a dynamic condition); such elements and connections determine an overall behavior which is not equal to the sum of the behaviors of the single elements, but it also depends on their interaction; moreover, it is able to react and adapt with respect to the reference context” (De Toni & Comello, 2005, p. 10).

Complex does not mean complicated. De Toni and Comello (2005, pp. 13-15) perfectly explain the difference between the two concepts, starting, again, from etymology. Complicated comes from the Latin term “cum plicum”, where “plicum” means “paper crease”. Complex comes from the Latin term “cum plexum”, where “plexum” means “knot, weave”.

To deal with complicated systems or problems, an analytical approach has to be adopted because it enables to find the right solution by disassembling the whole and focusing on its parts. If the problem is solved for one or more components then the whole can be reassembled and the problem is solved for the whole too. A mechanism is a typical example of complicated system. Complex problems require a totally different approach, a systemic approach. The whole structure cannot be understood by analyzing its single parts, but by thinking in terms of synthesis, or system. We must give up the idea of analytically reducing a phenomenon in parts; on the contrary, we must consider the whole system as something indivisible. From a methodological perspective, complex systems require to shift from the analytical level, where the problem lies, to the synthetic level, where the solution lies, by looking at the problem from above. Organisms are the most significant example of complex systems.

Characteristics for complicated and complex systems are clearly different (Exhibit 1).

Complicated and Complex Systems (De Toni & Comello, 2007, p. 15)

Exhibit 1 – Complicated and Complex Systems (De Toni & Comello, 2007, p. 15)

Complex Systems’ Properties

De Toni and Comello (2007, p. 29) identify seven main principles for complexity theory, which correspond to the seven basic properties for complex systems (Exhibit 2).

The Seven Principles of Complexity Theory

Exhibit 2 – The Seven Principles of Complexity Theory

With reference to the present paper, the most interesting are the ones related to self-organization capability, power of connections, and impossibility of prediction.

Self-Organization

Self-organization can be defined as the capability to spontaneously create order, new structures and new forms of behaviour, emerging from the cooperative and competitive interactions within the system that take place when a system is thermodynamically open (open to the surrounding environment from an energetic point of view) but organisationally closed (independent from any external scheme and able to maintain its individual characteristics, even in external changing conditions ) and far from equilibrium. Only the “edge of chaos”, an ever changing vital state of dynamic equilibrium between order and disorder, “the alternation and coexistence of continuity and discontinuity in the bifurcation; […] the place where life is stable enough to flourish and creative enough to deserve the name of life” (De Toni & Comello, 2007, p. 32), generates the conditions for creation and evolution.

Impossibility of Prediction

Complexity is the space of possibility, it allows freedom and change.

Because of non-linear connections and the existence at the “edge of chaos”, the future state of a complex system cannot be predicted with certainty, although its possible states (structure) can be predicted as a general rule. This is the reason why, for complex adaptive systems, the concept of “space of possibility” is used, a dimension where everything is possible but not everything will happen. A space where opposites coexist and “things do not rule out or cancel out each other; on the contrary, they come together, coexist, integrate and complement each other” (De Toni & Comello, 2007, pp. 33-34). Our mindset has to move from an “or ” approach to an “and” approach. From certainty to uncertainty.

Power of Connections

In complex adaptive systems “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and connections are the added value. […] Connections in complex systems are numerous and powerful. Also, as they are often non-linear, they give rise to the above quoted butterfly effect (a flat of a butterfly’s wings in China may produce a typhoon in the United States).” (De Toni & Comello, 2007, p. 40).

Connections make the difference between complicated and complex systems. Connections determine self-organization capabilities and evolution processes, connections generate many possible future. They are the basis of life.

Attractors

Even if attractors have not been identified as one of the seven principles of complexity theory, we are strongly convinced they represent an important characteristic of complex systems, able to determine and influence their behavior and evolution.

“An attractor is a set of states to which a complex system is attracted. The attraction comes from the complex interactions within the system itself, […].There are several types of attractors. The first is a point attractor, where there is only one outcome for the system. […]The second type of attractor is called a limit cycle or periodic attractor. Instead of moving to a single state as in a point attractor, the system settles into a cycle. While we can then not predict the exact state of the system at any time, we know it will be somewhere in the cycle. […] The fourth type of attractor is called a strange attractor or a chaotic attractor. A strange attractor never repeats itself (or it would be periodic attractor), but the values always move towards a certain range of values. There are certain states in which the system can exist and others it cannot. If the system were to somehow move out from the acceptable range of states it would be ‘attracted’ back into the attractor” (MacGill, 2007, pp. 1-8)

Even in a scenario of uncertainty, attractors influence the number and the kind of possible future state for complex systems. Attractors can contribute to determine some conditions for the system instead of others, making future a bit more predictable and pliable.

Projects and Complex Systems

Can projects be considered as complex adaptive systems?

Going back to the humanistic vision of projects and what they represent in human being experience, the similarity between projects and complex adaptive systems is more evident than ever.

Projects are made of lots of different elements and connections, and connections, non-linear connections, are the ones that determine project’s nature and evolution.

Projects self-organize themselves, new emergences raise everyday and determine, “here and now”, their actual state. No chance to exactly and completely know it before.

Projects enhance change and innovation, act and react, co-evolve with the relevant context. Uncertainty is their natural condition.

Managing Projects as Complex Adaptive Systems

Considering projects as complex adaptive systems may help to deal with them, as many of what are usually identified as “problems” to be controlled and avoided (non significant planning, uncertainty, risks, performance deviations, …) are just evidence of a complex nature. But, if this is true, then some paradigms for traditional project management approach have to be integrated and adapted:

  • Pre-defined detailed development models (i.e., project plan) cannot be taken as absolute reference to guide project execution and to measure its performances, because the “best to do” can only be decided “here and now”, according to current state of context and actual emerging conditions and opportunities;

  • Traditional organizational models may not be effective anymore. New leadership models may be needed, to support collective action to deal with uncertainty;

  • Systemic view and “weak signals” (i.e., connections) are much more important than details and single parts. Therefore, all traditional tools and techniques based on analytical paradigm (i.e., WBS) may not be considered as exhaustive to fulfill all management needs in a context of complexity, and new, more suitable and effective approaches to deal with systemic dimension are needed;

  • The idea of project constraints as “limiting” factors is no more valid, because if we cannot predict what future the project will have, then we cannot predict which limit s the constraint can produce. Instead, we should completely change our mind set and consider the “limiting” action of constraints as attractors, a good chance to address project evolution and to define what kind of future it may have.

In general, when dealing with a complex environment, focus has to be moved from content to conditions, from plans to people, from prescriptions to autonomy, from prediction to flexibility. In a complex environment certainty leaves place to possibility, which can only express itself through constraints.

Constraints: Limit or Opportunity?

Constraint: A Word

From a semantic point of view, as shown in Exhibit 3, the word “constraint” derives from the Latin verb “cum-stringere”, that means “to tie together”, so since from the beginning of our analysis we encounter not only a negative meaning (people who must necessarily do things beyond they willing) but also a sort of benefic effect (to keep things together, to make the whole system connected).

Definition of Word “Constraint”

Exhibit 3 – Definition of Word “Constraint”

The main synonyms of the word constraint are:

  • Compulsion = to be forced to do something, connected to the sense of force, urge, impulse, …

  • Uneasiness = to be in an uncomfortable state;

  • Restriction = a limitation of space and possibilities. But strict is also a good quality, often we say “in a strict sense” to mean something well-defined, clear and, therefore, helpful;

  • Limit = a reduction in freedom and possibilities. In our society a very common and attractive slogan is “no limits”, but in everyday life we experience the necessity of limits to harmonize and regulate all kind of behaviors; let’s think, for instance and in a completely different area, to the Statistic Process Control discipline, whose aim is to keep under control a process: the so called “control limit” are determined in order to comprehend the capability of the process (the limits represents the result of the interpretation of the “voice of the process” itself and use to warrantee the stability and repeatability of the process results. In other terms, limits are a way to prevent damages (scraps, conflicts, reworks, …).

Constraints and Philosophy

From a philosophic point of view, constraints are fundamental and “good” for human existence and thinking. They are strictly related to the “practice of definition” (Vegleris, 2010), which is the way human beings transform concepts and models into actions and behaviors. The practice of definition requires to set up constraints, in order to put people in an easy state, thus being free to create and express their potential.

Constraints and Management

From the management perspective, constraints have often been taken into account as key drivers for organizational models and managing approaches. They are the main protagonists of the Theory of Constraints (TOC), an overall management philosophy introduced by Dr. Eliyahu M. Goldratt (1984), which is geared to help organizations continually achieve their goals. The title comes from the contention that any manageable system is limited in achieving more of its goal by a very small number of constraints, and that there is always at least one constraint. The TOC process seeks to identify constraint and restructure the rest of the organization around it, through the use of the Five Focusing Steps.

Constraints and Music

Music is a universe of constraints and a marvelous space for creativity. In music everything is constrained, maybe music is the form of art where rules are less negotiable and the influence of a constraint upon another one is stronger. When a composer chooses a “tempo”, a set of instruments (i.e., a string quartet), a format of composition (i.e., minuetto), and so on, he freely enters in a constraints world which represents the space for creativity. But each constraint does not act by its own, as they were simple Cartesian orthogonal axis in which to collocate a certain physical phenomenon, each axe influence each other. The available number of possibilities to be explored for music creation is therefore exponentially higher, huge, because, as it happens in complex systems, the “whole” is more than the sum of single parts, and this is true for constraints too.

Constraints and Literature

In literature, writers base their creative process essentially on constraints as well. Poets use rhymes, metrics, and give themselves rules. There are writers who invent and define very strict constraints for their work, as a challenge to discover new forms of writing.

One of the most important example of this approach is Oulipo (short for French: OUvroir de LIttérature POtentielle; roughly translated: “workshop of potential literature”), a loose gathering of (mainly) French-speaking writers and mathematicians, which seeks to create works using constrained writing techniques. The group was founded in 1960 by Raymond Queneau and François Le Lionnais and defined the term “littérature potentielle” as (rough translation): “the seeking of new structures and patterns which may be used by writers in any way they enjoy.”

Constraints are used as a means of triggering ideas and inspiration. As well as established techniques, such as lipograms (writing that excludes one or more letters), univocalisms (a poem using only one vowel) and palindromes, the group devises new techniques, often based on mathematical problems, such as the Knight’s Tour of the chess-board and permutations (Oulipo, 2011, p. 1).

There is also a crowded group of writers who like to play with words and languages and to introduce “game-related” dimensions in their works. Bartezzaghi (2010) identifies several “playing writers” in literature history, starting from Dante Alighieri and including John Cage, Giampaolo Dossena, Marcel Proust, Raymond Queneau, Italo Calvino, Truman Capote. Authors who are keen on using game-constraints as an important contribute to the value of their works.

Constraints… More Than an Opportunity!

After these preliminary considerations we may say that in order to create something, constraints seem to be necessary.

If we stop thinking of constraints as “limits to what we can be or do” and start thinking to them as “rules that help us to behave”, then constraints can properly be considered as the key condition for getting opportunities. They identify and build the “space” where we are free to act and create.

Without constraints no future would be possible, as no rules would define it. Without constraints, all fundamental values could not exist. If we think of freedom and responsibility, for instance, their meaning and chance to be acted are strictly connected to their opposites. Without knowing the difference between freedom and “un-freedom”, freedom is not definable. Without knowing the difference between responsibility and negligence, responsibility is a non-sense. Only rules to identify and establish what “is” and what “is not” make the “is” possible.

The innovation process itself is based on constraints: the main ingredients of innovation area ideas. We know far well how often strong declarations coming from “gurus” have rapidly been overcome by history. Lord Kelvin was sure that “heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible”. But today we can fly, the main constraints (air, gravity) not only have been “overcome”, but also “used”, combined with each other. The airplane is a clear metaphor of the power of using constraints. The concept of “lift” of the constraint, the constraint that can sustain (like the air for the wings) is even more significant of the constraint as a help to stimulate creativity and to look for new solutions.

Constraints generate and promote cooperation. They set up a common context and identify shared references for collective actions. Not only constraints establish models and rules to allow and guarantee harmony and balance within the community, but also make the building of a “shared” vision for goals to be reached possible. More than “leaving in peace”, sharing the “big picture” is a basic condition for success.

Constraints promote awareness. They address, they contain, they create. They “force” us to be concentrated, to be alert, to be aware of what’s going on. In these conditions we are always ready to be proactive, to intercept and catch all new opportunities that may raise and adjust our behavior according to what’s happening around us, in order to always take the better decision, “here and now”.

Ethics as a Project Constraints

What Ethics for Projects?

Starting, once again, from words, “Ethics” derives from the Greek word “ethos”, that means “habit”, and is commonly defined as the criteria for public and private behavior that one person or a group of persons decide to adopt and follow. From a philosophical point of view, “ethics , also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, …” (Ethics, 2011, p. 1).

Projects need ethics. In projects, we cannot imagine to work effectively together without rules that define fundamental shared values and respective consistent behaviors to be adopted.

But instead of thinking of ethics in projects as something that “has” to be introduced, an imposition coming from “outside” ourselves (you have to …, you can’t…), we prefer consider ethics as a condition for personal and common “good-feeling” and “good-living”, that promotes and enhances valuable professional practices in project contexts. This is our idea of “Proj-Ethics”.

Referring to what has been written in previous chapters, we strongly believe that ethics acts in projects as a constraint for project adaptive systems: it generates opportunities for the project to become true and be successful.

No Ethics… No Projects!

Ethics, like constraints, contributes to define the “space” for the project to be generated, to set up the “limits” that address the (still countless but now possible) ways to project success.

Going back to the philosophical concept of “practice of definition” and moving it to project context, we can realize that this is first of all an ethical approach: to define work, to define customer requirements, to define stakeholders’ expectation, all definitions are an ethical way to make the idea of project come true.

WBS, as the result of a process that is meaningfully called “Scope definition”, is the simplest but very powerful and “ethic” exercise of the definition practice.

A good “procedure” inside a quality management system of an organization is a true help for the people to behave: it clearly defines steps, competences, boundaries, it is not at all a reduction of freedom and responsibility, it is the creation of a solid ground on which the collaboration process can be built.

Opposite of “definition” is “generalization”. “To tar everyone with the same brush” is not ethical, more than not effective. Therefore to create an ethical context, taking care of identifying differences is as important as definition. Differences, if looked at through ethical lens, make the difference, as Exhibit 4 shows in metaphoric idea.

Definition and Differences

Exhibit 4 – Definition and Differences

Be Ethical… And You’ll Find a Solution

Ethics in project can be a strong and effective factor to promote and enhance creativity. More than other kinds of constraints, ethics acts as a general rule that affects all project stakeholders and all their “connections”. This means that a great numbers of “factor” are involved and influence each other, generating, as we already said about constraints in complex adaptive systems (Exhibit 5), a much greater number of chances to find the “right” idea.

The Traditional “Triple Constraint” vs Interaction of Constraints in CAS

Exhibit 5 – The Traditional “Triple Constraint” vs Interaction of Constraints in CAS

Ethics, moreover, introduces a “new” point of view in creative and problem solving processes, because it looks at the project as a whole and supports the adoption of a systemic and holistic approach, a high level and strategic thinking which can be very useful in innovation. Sometimes, you can get lost in details….

Ethics to Build the Collective Dream

In the ancient platonic myth, as told by Protagora, Epimeteo and Prometeo distribute to all human beings practical skills in order to face life’s challenges and survive (this technical ability is represented by “the fire” stolen by Prometeo); but these skills may be distributed with different concentration of talents: one doctor can take care of many patients, one teacher can teach for a huge part of the population, …but there is a capability that Zeus commanded to be distributed to everyone and this is the capability to be a citizen.

Ethics is for everyone and cannot be delegated or transferred as it happens for the technical skills. No matter who we are, what is our role, what are our skills and capabilities, ethics belongs to us and is the key factor to build the “collective dream” which is necessary for the project to reach its goal. Collective dream is the true strength and energy for the team and all stakeholders to go in the same directions, to take charge of the project success, to be a “team” in which each member contributes and supports the others to win all together. No successful collective action is possible without a collective dream, and no collective dream can come true without an ethical base.

Tired? Have a Cup of Ethics….

In projects, especially when we think of them as complex systems, awareness is fundamental to identify emergences and “weak signals”, to govern connections, to take decisions. Awareness is one of the most strategic attitudes for project managers and they need help in nurturing and maintaining it in good “health”.

Montefusco (2007) tells us that when a pilot gets ready for each new flight, he uses plans and procedures, but also rituals and objects (Exhibit 6), to “build” for himself and for all involved stakeholders the systemic awareness that is necessary to make security as high as possible and to be ready to properly act and take the airplane back to a safe condition, whenever something should go in the wrong way.

A Typical “Awareness” Contributor in Flight Handling

Exhibit 6 – A Typical “Awareness” Contributor in Flight Handling

This is exactly what ethics can do for projects: stimulate and maintain awareness, but act as an “attractor” when something goes wrong, to promptly restore the balance and bring the project to a new condition of “wellness”.

Practical Suggestions for a “ProjEthical” Approach

Constraints and Language

The project management community is aware that communication is the main critical aspect inside a project. Communication is mainly based upon language and words. Communication is the main way ethics acts.

We can condensate the meaning of an ethical relationship with words in this … “wordplay”: “With words we can play but we should not joke”.

Playing with words means to fully respect the rules (constraints) and to deeply know them and their limits. Playing with words is a creative act, fully aware of the limits (constraints).

Also inside a project, together with the team member and the stakeholders, it is important to develop a shared and ethical context in which we play respecting the rules and creating the future, step by step. We can learn a lot from words, from their life and their way to cooperate.

Just like the individuals, each word must follow certain rules to be correct as an individual, but then it has to fit common rules, that have to be defined, shared and agreed. Words have many important properties:

Words can create (just like at the beginning of the world …), words can make things happen: in the beginning of a project we, as project manager, are called to a creation act through words.

Words can save (someone said that literature is a form of “save as …”); by telling the project story or telling the people story, we can save memory, we can build the knowledge base, of an individual as well as of an organization.

Words can define (words represent the most powerful tool to act the practice of definition).

Words can be a gift: words are able to transfer value from a person to another or from an organization to another; words are the matter of evolution.

Words can ask and can answer: words allow questions to be asked and answers to be given, they connect opposites and create new opportunities to be explored.

Respecting words is one of the most important ethical conditions to establish. It is important also because we can practice it continuously, and therefore we can train us to continuously being aware of it.

Also exercising in using synonymous is a good way to build the ethical context. Zagrebelsky (2010), promoting a new apology for the use of synonymous, a struggle against the tendency of the language, the business language specifically, to dry to a few words, remembers that the number of words people know is directly related to the level of democracy.

Value of Words—Project Glossary

The definition of a project glossary can be one of the most important “exercise” to promote and enhance projethical attitudes and behaviors. The value of a glossary is extraordinary, it’s the true practice of definition.

Each stakeholder brings to the project the dowry of its own language and its own “semantic system”, the project manager has to deal with the “babel” of languages. The setting of a permanent glossary is one of the key factors to govern complexity in project communication and to produce ethical “wellness”, starting from constraints and value of words.

Value of Values—Project Manifesto

In a context where constraints represent a key condition to create new “spaces” of possibility, the definition of a “Project Manifesto” can be helpful. A “Project Manifesto” has to be intended as a way the project entity “imagine itself becoming” and build its own all-accomplished evolution, the representation and metaphor of the self-consciousness that the project (and the project team) wants to achieve and to aim at in the course of “creation of possible worlds”.

The “Project Manifesto” collects all the expressions that shape whatever the project wants to become in order to create the banner under which the «project system» recognizes itself as unique, dreaming, acting and disclosing itself to the world: words, symbols, metaphors, values. It’s more than a project logo; it’s a synthesis of what the project is and aims to be. It states the rules and therefore has to be defined on ethical bases but, as the same time, it defines the ethical criteria. Together with the project glossary, the “Project Manifesto” represents another way to practice definition and to establish and ethical context for project success.

Project Is a Game…

All the evolution is a history of constraints. That’s why we should not only respect constraints, but search for them (the constraint hunter), fight with them non in a “war” but in a friendly competition.

Games can have an important role in setting the habit of looking for new constraints, because games themselves are based on rules they define and only respecting rules allow the game to be played.

In project context playing with words and languages, and not only, could result surprisingly effective… and ethical!

In the End…

“La legge, quale espressione di vincoli, definisce, relativamente a determinate condizioni, i limiti del possibile. Ma non limita semplicemente i possibili. […] Vincolo e possibilità possono essere subordinati secondo un rapporto gerarchico preciso. Per esempio: la legge, il vincolo, crea un quadro di possibilità all’interno del quale si realizzano gli eventi reali” (Ceruti, 2009, pp. 10-11). Law, as expression of constraints, defines, according to certain conditions, the limits for possible. But it does not limit the possibilities. Constraint and possibility may be related according to a precise hierarchical relationship. For example: law, constraint, creates a frame of possibilities within which real events happen.

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This material has been reproduced with the permission of the copyright owner. Unauthorized reproduction of this material is strictly prohibited. For permission to reproduce this material, please contact PMI or any listed author.

© 2010, Michela Ruffa, PMP - Stefano Setti, PMP
Originally published as a part of 2011 PMI Global Congress Proceedings – Dublin, Ireland

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