How to Plan for the Unpredictable When Managing Projects

Tuesday 25 June 2019
Jane Elliott-Poxon, explains how the people factor is crucial when managing projects in unpredictable environments.
fish jumping tanks

Essential learnings:

  • Challenge stakeholder views – empathetically
  • Throw out your usual approach
  • Build great relationships

When I think about project management, the metaphor coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins springs to mind: are you throwing rocks or birds? Both rocks and birds obey the laws of aerodynamics and physics. However, while you can calculate precisely how a rock will react when you throw it across a room, if you throw a live bird, you have no idea what will happen.

Managing complicated and complex projects including systems and cultures is very much like trying to throw birds. There are so many factors and elements involved that there is no simple way to predict the results. But there are ways in which we can improve our planning to manage that unpredictability effectively.

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