What did we discover?
Systems thinking is not a new technique for project management, but neither its application, nor understanding of its benefits, is widespread. Interviews and two surveys were conducted to explore the use of systems thinking in project management.
The study found that the majority of respondents believe that project managers use some form of systems thinking at least half of the time, but many recognised systems thinking tools like rich pictures and soft systems methodology are not widely used in projects. Use of systems thinking tools is slightly greater for more experienced project managers, and for those working in sectors that deliver complex technological products such as defence and aerospace. Further research is needed to explore in more detail the sector-level usage of systems thinking
What were the main challenges?
Obtaining participating organisations and individuals for the surveys and interviews that provided a good cross section of the UK project profession.