First-principles thinking on Project Management

Two Simple Questions

The two simplest questions in project management are:

The Deepening Gulf between Project Management Paradigms

Currently, we have three significant paradigms of project management, each fundamentally incompatible with each other:

Three Project Management Paradigms See All Projects as Their Turf

The Problem

The modern project management narrative is complex and conflicted, even when considering only three paradigms. If anything, the emergence of agile practices seems to have only hardened all three paradigms into set positions. Or it has triggered attempts by one paradigm to take over and absorb another paradigm.

Three Definitions of Project

Wideman’s thoughtful acquisition and analysis of these definitions provide us with representative ends of a large spectrum. Let’s take three examples that are entirely incompatible with each other.

Contingency Theory

Contingency theory was developed by Fred Fiedler in the 1960s and 1970s originally from research into leadership styles. Fiedler argued that there was no single leadership style that applied to all situations.

First Principles Thinking

First-principles are foundational concepts or propositions from which we derive all other propositions and ideas. Aristotle described them in his writings on physics.

The Bottom Line

Obviously, this preamble is leading somewhere.

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