The linear, goal-oriented approach to projects that is so popular in management literature is only appropriate if you are dealing with well-defined problems. For projects that address poorly defined problems, however, the principles of classic project management don't work; project managers attempt in vain to maintain a linear approach, even if targets, people affected and framework conditions cannot be determined precisely. We propose a fundamentally different approach based on current organizational theory: to start out with experiments, without predetermined conclusions. Projects are not evaluated by comparing the current status to the target, but rather by assessing whether stagnation has been overcome, conflicts put aside, and shared understanding about new opportunities has been created. Project groups and steering committees are not set up at all. Power "games" are harnessed and put to use, rather than prohibited.
Preface-Managing Projects beyond the Model of the Organization as Machine
1. What Is a Project? A Proposed Definition and Classification
1.1 Projects-A Definition
1.2 Projects and the Three Sides of an Organization
2. The Charm and the Limits of Instrumental Rationality in Project Management
2.1 The Instrumental-Rational Model of Project Management
2.2 The Function of an Instrumental-Rational Depiction of Projects
2.3 The Limits of Instrumental-Rational Project Management
3. Project Management beyond Instrumental-Rational Restrictions
3.1 Beyond Clearly Defined Project Objectives: Contingent Process Management
3.2 Beyond the Clear Sequence of Project Phases: Trying Things out before Thinking Them through to the End
3.3 Beyond Clear Project Evaluations: What Can We Call Success or Failure in a Contingent Project Process?
3.4 Beyond Project Groups and Steering Committees: The Dissolution of Classic Project Authorities
3.5 Beyond the Win-Win Mythology: Project Management as the Organization of Micro-Political Games
4. Limits and Opportunities for Management of Projects Addressing Poorly Defined Problems