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Projects: A Very Short Introduction [#537]
Projects: A Very Short Introduction [#537]

Winner of the 2018 Project Management Institute David I. Cleland Award for Literature


  • Provides a clear, accessible introduction to the challenges involved in the organization and management of projects
  • Shows how projects are becoming increasingly important for dealing with the accelerating change and uncertainty facing post-industrial societies
  • Places projects in their long-term historical context of the agrarian, industrial, and post-industrial ages
  • Explains how projects are understood in theory and identifies different dimensions of projects that have to be managed and organized in different ways: uncertainty, complexity, and urgency
  • Discusses why projects are the primary organizational vehicle driving innovation in the modern world

What is a project? How are projects organized to deal with a complex, rapidly changing, and uncertain world? Why are projects the organization of the future? 
A project is a temporary organization and one-time process established to achieve a desired outcome. Projects range in size from small teams to large international joint-ventures and temporary coalitions of public and private organizations. What distinguishes projects from all other organizational activities - such as mass produced products and services - is that a project is finite in duration, lasting from hours, days, or weeks to years, and in some cases decades. Each project is disposable. It brings together people and resources to accomplish a goal and when the goal is accomplished, the organization disappears. When projects are complex, unpredictable, and changing, their plans have to be flexible and able to adjust to situations that cannot foreseen at the outset.
In this Very Short Introduction Andrew Davies looks at how projects have developed since the industrial revolution to create the human-built world in which we live, work, and play. Considering some of our greatest endeavours such as the Erie Canal, Apollo Moon landing, Japanese product development, and Chinese ecocity projects, Davies identifies how projects are organized and managed to design and produce large and complex systems, cope with fast changing conditions, and deal with the immense uncertainties required to create breakthrough innovations in products and services. He concludes by considering how projects could be organized to address the challenges facing the post-industrial society of the 21st century. 


1: Introduction
2: America's venture into the unknown
3: From Manhattan to the Moon
4: Arup's adhocracy and projects in theory
5: Lean, heavy, and disruptive projects
6: London's megaproject ecology
7: Back to the future
Further Reading

About the author: 

Andrew Davies, Chair in the Management of Projects, The Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London
Andrew Davies is Professor in the Management of Projects and Director of Research in the Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London. His research focuses on the management of projects and project-based organizations. He is author of The Business of Projects: Managing Innovation in Complex Products and Systems, (Cambridge University Press 2005), co-authored with Michael Hobday, and The Business of Systems Integration, (OUP, 2003), with Andrea Prencipe and Michael Hobday. Davies has published in a range of management journals such as California Management Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, Research Policy, Organization Studies, Industrial Marketing Management, Industrial and Corporate Change and International Journal of Project Management.

"A goldmine of insights into project management — how it is actually done and how it could be done better. Andrew Davies should be read by anyone interested in understanding and improving the management of projects." - Bent Flyvbjerg, Professor and Chair at Oxford University's Saïd Business School, co-author of Megaprojects and Risk

"Andy Davies has written a concise and engaging intellectual history of project management theory and practice, filled with detailed case studies — recommended reading for all scholars and practitioners of project management. This book is a little gem." - Raymond Levitt, Stanford University.

"If you are considering a career in project management or are already involved in one or more projects and want to know how to improve the system then let this book become your bible ... Projects: A Very Short Introduction ... offers a veritable goldmine of insights, anecdotes and analysis of the very basics of project management, showing how it is done, and advising on how it can be done better." - Jade Taylor-Salazar, E&T Magazine

Product details

ISBN : 9780198727668

Andrew Davies
144 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Oct 2017
Very Short Introductions
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Projects: A Very Short Introduction [#537]

Projects: A Very Short Introduction [#537]

Projects: A Very Short Introduction [#537]