Situational Project Management

The Dynamics of Success and Failure (Best Practices and Advances in Program Management)

Situational Project Management

The Dynamics of Success and Failure (Best Practices and Advances in Program Management)

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Situational Project Management

Lehmann, Oliver F.
Taylor & Francis Inc
62,49 EUR

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One size does not fit all: project managers should be selective in the choice of practices applied for specific project situations. Agile methods as well as Rolling Wave and Waterfall methods can be highly successful in specific settings and fail in others. So far, project managers have not been given advice for the selection of practices. The book “Situational Project Management – The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (CRC Press / Auerbach Publications, published in English on July 1, 2016) has been written to fill this gap.

Project management opinion leaders like Robert K. Wysocki, well-known author of works such as “Effective Project Management”, have been propagating for decades to consider a more flexible, adaptive, situative approach if projects are to be a success. For project managers and all who work in projects, this means that they should not just learn methodologies and impose these on their project. Instead they should look more closely on the project situation and then decide accordingly and repetitively during the course of the project which techniques they consider helpful and which might even turn out to be detrimental.

“Situational Project Management – The Dynamics of Success and Failure” has been written by project management trainer Oliver F. Lehmann as a guide for project managers to assist them in selecting favorable practices for specific project situations, thus making it much more likely to turn them into a success. With this book, Oliver F. Lehmann is making a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge for Situative Project Management (SitPM) and providing food for thought to the project management profession in general.

The book’s author, Oliver F. Lehmann, has developed a set of templates to apply SitPM in practice. It can be downloaded from


(Quelle: Taylor & Francis Inc)


Rezension von Deasún Ó Conchúir

There is no shortage of big, thick books about Project Management, some of which present themselves as "the whole truth" or "best practice". It was therefore particularly refreshing to read Oliver F. Lehmann's "Situational Project Management" and to discover a more mature and eminently readable work.

His basic thesis is similar to "Situational Management" in which the manager chooses a style to suit the situation, rather than just using the same approach with all comers. It stands to reason that a single management style, whether friendly / demanding/ explicit/ empowering etc, cannot suit every situation and that better results are obtained adjusting the management style to the situation.

In the same way, Situational Project Management says that how projects are managed should depend on the situation. One example given is the "Exploratory Project", where many or most details are new and have to be discovered, compared with a "Mark n" project, which essentially upgrades an existing product, delivering a new version of an existing product.

This approach contrasts with the way project standards are often used. The bigger the book, the greater the tendency to treat it as "The Bible" and then to assume that EVERYTHING in it is fixed and MUST be used EVERY time. Although the PMBOK Guide (for example) specifically states that what it describes should be selectively evaluated and applied to any given project, I have often heard trainees say that it does not suit their very particular organisational situation, usually due to a misunderstanding of some detail. Such people do not want to have a perfect reference nearby to trip them up.

A second refreshing feature of Lehmann's book is that it deals with reality. There are several interesting discussions about what happens when time is reserved for a project, which is later syphoned off to another assignment, how the reserve is used up and the project manager then carries the blame for a late delivery. I do not recall such real-life discussions in most of the literature, which sometimes talks about "Best Practice". Even here Lehmann has a warning, pointing out that what worked in one situation should not be held up as "best practice" in another, both because it may not be the best solution in the new situation AND it lures us into giving up the search for improvements.

Finally, it appeals to me that the book goes into the "nitty-gritty", again in contrast with the average book, which covers basic issues in a textbook way.

They say that other people's experience is just as useful basis for learning as one's own, and a lot cheaper, so if you are open to moving on from basic (traditional) project management, and want to benefit from Oliver Lehmann's rich experience, then this books is strongly to be recommended.

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