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What’s it about?
Working on complex projects often in the form of change and transformation programmes can be stressful and unpredictable. Whilst there is plenty of advice on how to manage the stresses that come with the job and the ‘people issues’ that get in the way of delivery, much of it doesn’t quite hit the spot.
This book takes a different tack. It recognises the reality of organisational life where many leaders and project professionals find so much is changing, on so many fronts, that at times it seems impossible to keep up – let alone influence the way forward.
And this is not how your organisation or projects are supposed to function! At times you feel stuck, frustrated and unable to put a finger on what is going wrong or why. It’s like being caught in a thick fog. Unable to see a way forward, all you can do is keep walking and take cues from those around you.
Fully referenced, yet concise and easy to read, Project Delivery, Uncertainty & Neuroscience, draws on recent research in neuroscience, mindfulness, complexity and project management.
Project Delivery Uncertainty and Neuroscience is in two parts
Part One is a primer. It explores how the human brain works to build an understanding of why people behave as they do in organisations (the social dynamics). It uses this as a platform to examine the dynamics of complexity, and attitudes to risk and uncertainty; three factors which have a fundamental impact on stress levels and project outcomes.
Part Two is primarily a toolkit. It includes a series of practical frameworks and suggestions to help you apply your knowledge from Part One. These develop your capability to read and influence the behaviors and emotions of everyone involved, and to see projects as social systems. Together these tools allow you to take the stress out of delivery, reduce complexity and improve business and personal outcomes.
Reviews of Project Delivery Uncertainty and Neuroscience
The neuroscience view is a fascinating way of thinking about projects, and this book offers great insight into key aspects of performance. The ‘softer’ side of project management is vital, yet clear thinking and advice on the subject is rare. Uncertainty is a fact of life in projects, and embracing this truth (and its consequences) is essential. There are many great nuggets to take away here, along with very practical tools for leaders to improve their project outcomes. Dr Neil Turner, Reader in Project Learning, Cranfield University
Carole Osterweil has managed to demystify the emergent property of Project Braininess. You need to read this book. Professor Eddie Obeng, Pentacle
Carole Osterweil’s highly original book helps you get inside the mind of the project. If you understand your own and everyone else’s hang ups (biases, attitudes to risk, perceptions of value) then you can start to influence how people behave within the project. Jonathan Norman, Major Projects Knowledge Hub
“We talk increasingly about a VUCA world, and how major government and organisational projects are started with the best of intents but get bogged down. Project Delivery, Uncertainty and Neuroscience highlights recent neurological research and gives insight into how to use it in project delivery. Read it and learn how to balance attention to the technical with attention to the behavioural and social.” Sarah Coleman, Business Evolution
“I am constantly amazed at how much time, effort and money is thrown at structural issues (time, pace, scope etc) and how little at the messy socio-political where the vast majority of problems occur. It’s great to find a well written book that gets to grips with this.” Stephen Carver, Cranfield University
This book is a great read. Carole demystifies the area of social dynamics in project environments. She provides an easy to digest introduction to how the brain works, before exploring attitudes to risk, uncertainty and complexity . She offers real life examples and practical tools to lift the fog. This is a valuable and practical resource for anyone involved in projects and change. Use it to improve project team performance and stakeholder engagement when goal posts are constantly shifting. Ranjit Sidhu, Changequest
I found this book easy to read and full of practical, relevant insights. I like the illustrations of key points using recent research. For me, the most useful part of the book was the spectrum from certainty to uncertainty, and how to cope with uncertainty. This is book is a helpful contribution to understanding how to lead complex projects. I recommend it to project and programme managers, risk managers and change professionals. Melanie Franklin, Agile Change Management Ltd