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In 2010 the CEO Office at IBM published the results of a survey (IBM, 2010, Capitalizing on Complexity: Insights from the Global Chief Executive Officer Study, GBE03297-USEN-00, Somers, NY) they had conducted of 1541 CEOs from 60 countries.

Their major finding was that over 50% of the CEOs admitted that they were aware of the complex and uncertain environment in which they were forced to do business, but they were not prepared to deal with it, and they didn’t know what to do about it. They also expected complexity and uncertainty to continue to increase.

If that isn’t a clarion call to action from the project management community, I don’t know what is. To a large extent that call has been ignored until today. Join me and we can change that.


OUTSIDE THE BOX Forum is my disruptive attempt to suggest how the project management community might address the global problem reported by IBM. I’m going to get your creative juices flowing by offering artifacts that have been used successfully in my ECPM Framework. Some of these artifacts are all situation and client-based, and many evolved over time. They are adaptive. They can be disruptive of common practices. But I have found situations where they have been successful too! We just need a strategy for using the right approach tailored to the right situation. I recognize the challenges we face and that the solutions are not always obvious. Many will continue to be elusive never be found unless we take that first step outside the box. This forum will be successful if you participate with me. I want to hear from you and your experiences stepping outside the box! Learning opportunities will arise, they are it is just another step on our journey to discovering those elusive solutions and responding to IBM’s call to action.

If you factor in the high failure rate of IT projects as reported by the Standish Group you should see the gravity of this global situation. But the response from our PM community has not happened. If you consider yourself to be a professional, you should have taken up the challenge to make a difference. This column is another chance to redeem yourself. It is my clarion call to you. The time has come for you to step up to the bar and do something!

My plan is to stoke the fires with a new posting once a month. Many of them will be derivatives from the IBM CEO Report. I have long been a proponent of outside the box thinking to solve project management process and practice problems. I will be sharing those with you with the expectations that you will respond in kind. Let’s take a brainstorming approach and find the much-needed process and practice solutions.

I won’t minimize the risks especially as we start our journey into the unknown unknowns. It is critical that you participate. I want to hear your thoughts about how we might direct this journey. And I promise an immediate response.

OUTSIDE THE BOX FORUM is a bold venture into the unknown. I expect to share a variety of disruptive ideas for your consideration. These ideas will address a number of open questions, issues, and challenges to complex project management. This effort will not succeed unless you participate with us. Help us out with your response to a most important question:

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