Quantum Project Management



By Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC
Florida, USA


Quantum Project Management or QPM as described and developed in this paper focuses on drawing a strong analogous framework from both relativistic theory and quantum theory recognizing their departures from classical physics. The goal is to lay out a comprehensive theory to replace conventional project management theory when applied to large complex projects (LCP). As described in this paper QPM seeks to move beyond a pure metaphorical framework and provide a robust framework for conceiving, planning and executing LCP.

QPM is a new management paradigm that replaces Taylorism’s Scientific Management paradigm upon which classical project management is founded.

Relativistic behaviors, influenced by Einstein’s theory of relativity, involve effects like time dilation and length contraction, highlighting the interplay between space and time. Similarly, large complex projects often experience time dilation as schedules may extend, and the perception of progress varies based on perspectives. Additionally, just as objects with mass affect the fabric of spacetime in relativity, key components or challenges within large projects can significantly influence their overall trajectory, creating a dynamic and interconnected environment.

Both quantum systems and large complex projects exhibit a level of unpredictability. In quantum systems, particles can exist in multiple states simultaneously until measured, reflecting uncertainty. Similarly, large projects involve various factors, making outcomes unpredictable until completion. Additionally, the interconnected nature of quantum entanglement parallels the interdependence of tasks in complex projects, where changes in one area can impact the entire system. However, unlike the deterministic classical world, both quantum systems and large projects introduce an element of probabilistic behavior.

Quantum project management draws inspiration from quantum mechanics, emphasizing adaptability and flexibility. Like the uncertainty principle in quantum physics, it acknowledges the inherent unpredictability of projects. Teams in quantum project management embrace ambiguity, allowing for simultaneous exploration of multiple solutions until a clearer path emerges. This approach encourages rapid adaptation to changing conditions, resembling the behavior of particles in superposition. The goal is to navigate complex projects with a mindset that accommodates uncertainty, leveraging agility and creative problem-solving[1].

This paper, while comprehensive, is not intended to be the final word on quantum project management. It draws parallels between modern physics and large complex projects and importantly provides us with a path forward that is unlocked from conventional project management. It seeks to encourage debate, help us ask the right questions, decoupled from a theory which has fallen short for large complex projects, and explore a new framework more analogous to what we see in other complex systems. It is not the final word on this new framework but rather a framework to see more, know more, and importantly, do better.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Prieto, R. (2024). Quantum Project Management, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue I, January 2024. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/pmwj137-Jan2024-Prieto-Quantum-Project-Management-.pdf

About the Author

Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC
Jupiter, Florida, USA


Bob Prieto is a senior executive effective in shaping and executing business strategy and a recognized leader within the infrastructure, engineering, and construction industries. Currently Bob heads his own management consulting practice, Strategic Program Management LLC. He previously served as a senior vice president of Fluor, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the world. He focuses on the development and delivery of large, complex projects worldwide and consults with owners across all market sectors in the development of programmatic delivery strategies. He is author of nine books including “Strategic Program Management”, “The Giga Factor: Program Management in the Engineering and Construction Industry”, “Application of Life Cycle Analysis in the Capital Assets Industry”, “Capital Efficiency: Pull All the Levers” and, most recently, “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects” published by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) as well as over 800 other papers and presentations.

Bob is an Independent Member of the Shareholder Committee of Mott MacDonald and a member of the board of Dar al Riyadh. He is a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction, a Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America, and member of several university departmental and campus advisory boards. Bob served until 2006 as a U.S. presidential appointee to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC), working with U.S. and Asia-Pacific business leaders to shape the framework for trade and economic growth. He is a member of the Millennium Challenge Corporation advisory board where he had previously served. He had previously served as both as Chairman of the Engineering and Construction Governors of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of the infrastructure task force formed after September 11th by the New York City Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as Chairman at Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) and a non-executive director of Cardno (ASX).

Bob serves as an honorary global advisor for the PM World Journal and Library and can be contacted at rpstrategic@comcast.net.

To view other works by Bob Prieto, visit his author showcase page in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/bob-prieto/

[1] Prieto, R. (2021). Large Complex Project Success: Have we institutionalized the wrong lessons; PM World Journal (ISSN: 2330-4480); Vol. X, Issue I, January – https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/pmwj101-Jan2021-Prieto-Large-Complex-Project-Success.pdf