Our book, run as a ‘homework project’, has had the gestation period of a tardy blue whale. However, we (meaning myself and co-author Andy Coaton) submitted our manuscript to the publisher last month. They accepted it for publication. We have a few tweaks to make and we’re expecting to see it on sale in the spring next year.
We are really pleased with the output and look forward to seeing our names in print. A synopsis follows.
The modern business environment is one of rapid change. The modern corporation is lean and very cost conscious. A consequence is an increasingly common project management situation of a medium important, medium complex business change project. It can’t justify a full-time team. It is, therefore, largely staffed by in-house resources working on the project as ‘homework’. This means in addition to their normal responsibilities. We term this a Composite Project.
The thesis of the book is that composite projects are being used at an increasing rate to meet the demands of rapid business change. However, they are largely unrecognised as a separate organisational category of project. They posses particular characteristics, management needs and risks.
Analogous to the classic project ‘Iron Triangle’, where there is a trade-off between cost, time and scope, we maintain that there is a People Project Triangle. This is a trade-off between the project, the ongoing business, and the people working in both the business and the project. When pressure mounts, generally, only two of those can be prioritised and one must give. We observe that it is often the people that bear the brunt with subsequent implications of stress and burnout.
Drawing on our experience, we assert that, with better recognition, clearer understanding and appropriate measures, many of the common problems with composite projects can be foreseen and avoided or mitigated.