Managing projects in an uncertain world: engaging stakeholders, and building a systemic view of risk

Fran Ackermann, Susan Howick, Tom Houghton, John Quigley, Lesley Walls

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


As evidenced through both a historical record of project over-runs and a large number of projects currently under media spotlight for cost over-runs e.g.
Edinburgh Tram system, managing projects can be a risky business. Managers are faced with effectively engaging and working with often a multitude of parties
(suppliers, government, consultants, general public and own staff), anticipating and dealing with a wealth of often interlocking uncertainties (ranging from technological innovation to force majeure), and often undertaking these activities within a compressed timeframe (which exacerbates the situation) This paper
describes a risk management process that has been developed to assist managers facing such situations. The process explicitly engages a range of stakeholders using a group decision support system (allowing for equality of view) and causal mapping process (which facilitates the surfacing of risks along with their ramifications), and thus provides not only a comprehensive appreciation of the totality of the risks identified but also a greater understanding of their subtleties, consequences etc. The paper will discuss a real case where the process was used to gain an understanding of the risks associated with developing a new energy system. The paper will describe the process and its implications, before reflecting on the insights, limitations
and future research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 4 Sep 2012
EventOR54 Annual Conference 2012 - Edinburgh First, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Sep 20126 Sep 2012


ConferenceOR54 Annual Conference 2012
Abbreviated titleOR54
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • project management
  • risk management approaches
  • stakeholder engagement


Dive into the research topics of 'Managing projects in an uncertain world: engaging stakeholders, and building a systemic view of risk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this