Project Management

Quantum Physics Principles Applied to Project Management

Antonio is a project manager in Caracas, Venezuela with more than 25 years of experience as a PM, project engineer, engineering coordinator, mechanical designer and consultant.

Given the innovative and relevant aspects of the principles of quantum physics, it’s worth evaluating their great potential in relation to project and risk management. Quantum physics has within its roots the management of uncertainty—and uncertainty is a key factor in the origin of the deviations that can occur during project executions (and is also the key factor in risk management).

Thus, the key question for the project manager, planner or risk management team looking at a project deviation that threatens the planned schedule and cost is: How should the catch-up plan be implemented to correct and recover the original plan?

To answer this question, savvies on this subject have appealed to some principles of quantum physics, which in turn seem to emulate the schemes of human reasoning. These are the principles of superposition and complementarity.

The quantum superposition principle proposes that different states coexist, and the definition of a state or system is caused by the intervention on the system. In human reasoning, it could be identified as the indefinite, ambiguous or dispersive state, since there are different ideas or concepts valid at the same time—and concretion is achieved once it is reasoned about. It is the result of thinking and reflection.

From this it follows that in a process, the defined state does not exist; there are …

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"Impartial observers from other planets would consider ours an utterly bizarre enclave if it were populated by birds, defined as flying animals, that nevertheless rarely or never actually flew. They would also be perplexed if they encountered in our seas, lakes, rivers and ponds, creatures defined as swimmers that never did any swimming. But they would be even more surprised to encounter a species defined as a thinking animal if, in fact, the creature very rarely indulged in actual thinking."

- Steve Allen