Why wouldn't we design project management processes around the human brain?
If the human factor is around 70% of project performance, why wouldn't we design project management processes so that they are effective based on the way humans think?
That said, imagine taking the PMBOK or Agile processes and running them through a processor that evaluated whether each process was the most effective as it is, or if it needs to be reordered, deleted, or added to.
Let's take a planning example to expand on the idea: you are in a planning session and someone asks you to estimate the duration on an activity. However, behavioral research has found that identifying obstacles before inquiring about durations reduces optimism bias, and thus results in more accurate planning.
The vision is continue to research and improve project management processes by designing them around the way humans think and interact with their environments, using behavioral and neuroscience to inform design. The above image is just one example.
Join your peers and become a member of the most advanced project management endeavor, the building of #projectscience through the neuro, behavioral, and cognitive sciences! Behavioral Economics has made great strides, so what are we waiting for?
Buehler, R., Griffin, D., & Peetz, J. (2010). The planning fallacy: Cognitive, motivational, and social origins. In Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 43, pp. 1-62). Academic Press.
welcome to the institute for
neuro & behavioral project management
The profession of project management is entering a new level of maturity. Project management processes are well-known, highly developed, and widely used. Organizations are committed to a project-based approach to implementing change. It is time for project managers, PMOs, professional associations, project professionals of all specializations, and organizations worldwide to look forward to a new phase in project management, one that focuses on behavioral factors.
We at the Institute of Neuro and Behavioral Project Management believe that this is the way to take project management into the 21st Century and beyond, and create a practice that will result in better project outcomes, and more flexible approaches to change in all types of organization.
It is the mission of the Institute to increase understanding of the impacts of human factors on the project lifecycle and to offer solutions to the challenges of creating predictable results out of unpredictable behavior. This, the next phase in project management, integrates the learnings of the behavioral sciences and neuroscience with project management to create Behavioral Project Management.
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Neuro and Behavioral Project Management is the study and application of behavioral methods and neuroscience to help predict and deliver projects. It is an approach that enables significant enhancement of existing technical-only project management methods by recognizing the inherently irrational behavior of human beings and mitigating those behaviors throughout all processes and phases of the project lifecycle.
To put the importance of predicting human behavior in managing projects into perspective, we must consider the following:
Around 21% of gross world product every year (about $15 trillion in 2016) is capital formation, of which the majority is accomplished through projects (World Bank, 2009; Bredillet, 2009)
An estimated 70% of project performance relies on human factors
About half of all projects fail their schedule and cost objectives (PMI, 2016)
42% of European organizations surveyed were using project-based structures (Whittington, 1999)
With nearly half of organizations using projects, 50% of projects failing their objectives, and 70% of project performance – including non-performance – attributed to behavior, we estimate that $5 trillion per year is significantly impacted by human factors.
So, the $5,000,000,000,000 question is 'what are we doing to fix it?'
Providing an answer to this question is part of the Institute's mission.
Benefits of Behavioral Project Management (BPM)
Make baseline plans and monthly forecasts more accurate
Increase reliability of prediction
Narrow margins of error in milestone variances
Decrease risk through predictive mitigation
Increase integration between project functions
Become leaders in project delivery reliability and consistency
Decrease material cost of optimistic prediction
Some Summary-Level Project Management Considerations
Behavioral Project Management will improve prediction and delivery of critical projects worldwide. Here are some statistical considerations that mark the relevance of changing our paradigm from a strictly technical-only approach to a more behavioral approach to managing projects:
Flyvbjerg (2007) found that the average cost of optimistic project planning is 4.6 percent of cost overruns. Using behavioral strategies to mitigate this can save projects from needless cost overruns.
The project management discipline is showing signs of moving from purely technical aspects toward a more behavioral and social approach (Leybourne, 2007).
Capital project and infrastructure spending expected to hit $9 trillion per year by 2025, up from $4 trillion in 2014 (Oxford Economics, 2014). Inefficiencies on such a global scale are expensive.
Defense market is expected to grow at about 3 percent per year through 2022 (Lineberger, 2018).