Project Management

Ready, Mindset, Go!

Jack Ricchiuto

Project managers must develop fluency in the principles of interdependence, uniqueness and impermanence.

Many project managers go through three phases of learning. In the beginning, we naively oversimplify the process. We see projects as hyper to-do lists and miss the many nuances involved in managing projects.

With learning and practice, our understanding of projects "complexifies" as we discover the juggling projects require. In this stage, the multiple layers of attention involved can easily overwhelm us. We learn that managing project work requires a set of competencies that are in many ways different than those required in nonproject work.

Later, as we gain more experience, we develop ways to simplify our approach to projects. Like chaos theory practitioners, we invent and import ways of thinking about projects that help us manage complexity through simplicity. In pursuit of this, one helpful mental model is to see project management as an ongoing process of paying attention to three core principles: interdependence, uniqueness and impermanence.


To pay attention to interdependency is to respect the functional order of events in projects—that is, the relationship among various project events based on which ones need to occur before, after and simultaneously. The timing of any event in a project needs to be made in relation to all events that…

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