The Best Research On Project Management

Some really insightful data backed research on project management comes from Bent Flyvbjerg. He’s originally from Denmark, but now at Oxford University’s business school. You can see a good summary of his research here, and he has a name that’s pretty easy to find on Google.

His recent article in Harvard Business review explains why projects can be subject to the black swan problem.

And a number of his publications discuss the problems of inaccurate cost estimates, especially in public projects, but here is a good summary of reference class forecasting.

Project management is often a fairly practical subject, and so it’s interesting to see the level of deep, theoretical rigor that Flyvbjerg brings to the topic.

2 responses to “The Best Research On Project Management

  1. Hi Simon. Thank you for sharing the article. From a portfolio management perspective, there are definitely some things that upper management can do to guard against black swan projects. Obviously, thorough reviews (aka Stage-Gate) could help uncover issues, out of scope work, and strategic misalignment. Even if the project looks good, I don’t think most management teams do a good job of balancing the risk of the portfolio. Clearly, if there is a huge project that needs to get done but introduces significant risk, the management team would be wise to postpone other high-risk work in order to protect the high priority investment. Lastly, from an execution side, protecting resource capacity is critical to reducing unnecessary resource conflicts which can impact project execution.

  2. Thanks Tim, all great points, particularly the idea of shifting particular projects to manage the overall risk level across the portfolio.

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