IPMA International Project Management Association
17 October 2018 / 9:00

Project, Program, Change – Handbook for Intrapreneurs in Project-Oriented Organizations

Through my blogpost “The interrelations between projects, programmes and change” I already outlined, how important the relationship between projects, programmes and change is in the VUCA world. In this blogpost I also mentioned a new book written by Roland Gareis and his son Lorenz Gareis, which is now available in English language. The book “Project, Program, Change – A Textbook and Handbook for Intrapreneurs in Project-Oriented Organizations” provides readers with an integrative approach to project, programme, and change management. It describes the differences between change in projects versus programmes with several case studies in both areas and the different life cycles used. While the project and change comprise much of the book, it is up to date with its emphasis on agile, scrum, and benefits. The book also describes methods to both initiate and manage a change and what must be done for success and business value.

The authors draw from social system theory and radical constructivism to outline the epistemological context of projects, programmes and change for implementing organisational strategies and investments. They highlight values underlying the systemic management approach, including but not limited to holistic boundaries, sustainable development, agility, empowerment, and resilient organisations.

An interesting aspect is the label “intrapreneurs”, used for project, programme and change managers. They do not only “administer” but also contribute to ensuring the realisation of benefits. This requires them to acquire new self-understanding and competences in order to fill this new role in a project-oriented organisation.

Roland Gareis has been advocating a systemic project management approach since 1990, initially through the new concept of “managing by projects”. He claims that traditional, mechanistic project and programme management too often fails. Through his book he presents a new start for the business value of holistic, context-oriented, and constructivistic managing of projects, programmes and change.

The values for business value comprise according Roland and Lorenz Gareis of the following:

  • Changes by projects! Projects and programmes are not performed for their own sake. They realize change.
  • Values-based management! Consider values such as agility, empowerment, resilience, and sustainable development enables sustainable “business values.”
  • Perceiving project managers as intrapreneurs! Project managers do not just carry out projects. They are intrapreneurs of project-oriented organizations.
  • Managing complexity and dynamics! An integrative management approach assures quality of projects, programmes and change.

The book is a must read for any professional in the context of project-oriented organisations, whether they are profit, not-for-profit or even public. It may guide the reader through the dynamic and complex world of projects in a change-driven environment.

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Reinhard Wagner

Author of this post

Reinhard Wagner has been active for more than 30 years in the field of project- related leadership, in such diverse sectors as Air Defense, Automotive Engineering, and Machinery, as well as various not-for-profit organizations. As a Certified Projects Director (IPMA Level A), he has proven experience in managing projects, programmes and project portfolios in complex and dynamic contexts. He is also an IPMA Certified Programme and Portfolio Management Consultant, and as such supports senior executives in developing and improving their organizational competence in managing projects. For more than 15 years, he has been actively involved in the development of project, programme and portfolio management standards, for example as Convenor of the ISO 21500 “Guidance on Project Management” and the ISO 21503 “Guidance on Programme Management”. Reinhard Wagner is Past President of IPMA and Chairman of the Council, Honorary Chairman of GPM (the German Project Management Association), as well as Managing Director of Tiba Managementberatung GmbH.