Time lags between cause/effect — The Experience Trap

NOTE: 3rd post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. That time lags affect project results is common sense — any PM has experienced this frustration with the slow turn of HR onboarding, hiring consultants, etc.  But one would think we would know how to adjust.  From […]

Mental Models Collapse in Complex Projects — The Experience Trap

NOTE: 2nd post of a series on an HBR article by Prof. Kishore Sengupta, et al on The Experience Trap. Many PMs claim that any PM should be able to run any project in any industry, solution, etc. (I’ve found only top talent can really do this).  These first few sentences demonstrate one of the problems […]

Not learning from our mistakes — The Experience Trap

In 2006 I sponsored an INSEAD knowledge management program with Prof. Kishore Sengupta.  We got a chance to reconnect when I saw his Harvard Business Review article The Experience Trap (sorry subscribers only, but worth the reprint).  We had already started to deploy some of the suggestions independently — in KM and in training — but […]

Experience Trap/Complexity Set

This page collects a number of posts touching on the topic of initiative complexity.  It is a burning issue across many industries, so I expect to update it regularly. The Experience Trap and Managing Complexity This first group challenges assumptions about the value of experience in project managers, especially when these PMs try to apply this […]

Surviving PMO Success — The Process Maturity Trap

One of the unexpected challenges in our PMO journey has been that success can make an enterprise-level PMO appear less relevant.  A PMO must transform its approach to stakeholders or it won’t take full advantage of the improvements it fostered.  One manifestation of the problem unfolds thusly: An enterprise PMO composed of PM thought leaders executes […]

Leading, not managing, complexity

One of the pleasures of blogging are the parallels I find between and among various bloggers’ themes.  As I was prepping for my WSJ interview last Friday, I reviewed the posts on my Complexity Set page.  I realized that Elizabeth’s review of the book Leadership Skills for Project and Programme Managers (here) provided a nice counterpart […]

Added new link collection “Complexity Set”

FYI, I’ve added a new page — Complexity Set — that will feature a set of links dealing with the emerging topic of project complexity.  I expect to add quite a few links as we go along. The first iteration of the page collects my posts to date on “The Experience Trap” HBS article by […]

Every project becoming a program?

As suggested by “The Experience Trap” series I’ve been running, in the very near future, the skills and competencies to lead future initiatives will be those of a program and portfolio manager.  I’m not sure that the way we approach methodology is helping.  As an example, my local PMI chapter is sponsoring a speaker on […]

Role of Emotions in Learning Failures

For while the Experience Trap article discusses some reasons for “learning problems” in complex projects, the role of stress and emotion on decision making breakdowns isn’t sufficiently highlighted.  We too often “react” to problems and “jump right in.” IMO, these failures are often a function of our reliance on primitive brain structures in stressful situations (recent Science mag article […]

What do hardcore gamblers and PMs have in common?

Considering the failings of experience project managers highlighted in my post on “The Experience Trap,” this Science Daily press release seemed timely: Gambling addicts don’t learn from their mistakes, according to a new study. The problem could be explained by a kind of mental rigidity that leads to harmful compulsive behavior in sufferers. Hmmm…is DNA testing […]