Quantum Project Management, Large Complex Projects, and Entanglement



By Bob Prieto

Chairman & CEO
Strategic Program Management LLC

Jupiter, Florida


In Quantum Project Management[i] I continued a journey which has spanned several decades as I first studied the unacceptably high “failure” rates of large complex projects, identified some root causes and suggested various focus areas[ii] to address the observed deficiencies. Along that journey I observed that classical project management theory failed us at scale and complexity, constrained by its founding grounded on straight-forward, decomposable projects that were well-bounded. At various points along that journey, I compared what needed to happen as being analogous to the break in thought and theory that occurred as both quantum theory and relativistic theory emerged in the physics domain. I suggested that a new theory of project management[iii] needed to emerge and suggested some of the analogies which linked the required elements of this new theory even more closely to the transformations that quantum and relativistic theories brought to classical physics.

While this journey began with a focus on scale, today it is focused on complexity and scale. Along the way the importance of system thinking became even more apparent as did the open systems nature of large complex projects. Stakeholders, and their stakeholders, were ever more important elements in the open systems context which is the nature of all quantum systems and in effect were a large part of the spacetime[iv] in which a project is set. This spacetime, or surrounding ecosystem if you will, is highly determinative of ultimate project success or failure, and as such the behaviors and futures of the project and ecosystem are intimately entangled.

This entanglement is something witnessed in quantum systems and importantly is the value adding property in quantum computing[v]. In larger systems, systems at scale, there had been an open question as to whether the effects of entanglement would be measurable and observable. This open question has now been addressed in observations related to the chaotic orbit of Hyperion, one of the moons of Saturn, where its chaotic orbit can be described as resulting from the combined consideration of that moon, the dust and photons striking it.

Hyperion; Nasa

The Quantum Analogy

In quantum mechanics we describe quantum properties in the form of a wave function, represented by Ψ. This can be thought of as the probability distribution associated with a particular behavior or property such as spin. In large systems it had been assumed that the combined individual randomness would average out over time and be described by a more classical description. This, however, is not necessarily the case as was observed by studying the chaotic orbit of Hyperion. This chaotic orbit is better understood by considering the behavior of the larger system which Hyperion is part of, one including that moon itself together with the dust and photons striking it.

This can be described such that:

ΨObserved  = ΨMoon + ΨDust + ΨPhotons

The interaction of dust and photons with the moon causes their wave functions to become entangled and it is this entanglement that results in the complex and chaotic orbit we observe. This particular type of entanglement is called Chaos Entanglement and systematically generates chaotic dynamics by entangling multiple stable linear systems such as the moon, dust and photons.


To read entire paper, click here

How to cite this paper: Prieto, R. (2024). Quantum Project Management, Large Complex Projects, and Entanglement, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VII, July 2024. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj143-Jul2024-Prieto-Quantum-Project-Management-Large-Complex-Projects-and-Entanglement.pdf

About the Author

Bob Prieto

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


Bob Prieto is Chairman & CEO of Strategic Program Management LLC focused on strengthening engineering and construction organizations and improving capital efficiency in large capital construction programs. Previously Bob was a senior vice president of Fluor focused on the development, delivery and turnaround of large, complex projects worldwide across the firm’s business lines, and Chairman of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Bob’s board level experience includes Parsons Brinckerhoff (Chairman); Cardno (ASX listed; Non-executive director); Mott MacDonald (Independent Member of the Shareholders Committe); and Dar al Riyadh Group (current)

Bob consults with owners of large, complex capital asset programs in the development of programmatic delivery strategies encompassing planning, engineering, procurement, construction, financing, and enterprise asset management. He has assisted engineering and construction organizations improve their strategy and execution and has served as an executive coach to a new CEO. He is author of nine books, 950 papers and National Academy of Construction Executive Insights, and an inventor on 4 issued patents.

Bob’s industry involvement includes ASCE Industry Leaders Council, National Academy of Construction and Fellow of the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). He serves on the New York University Abu Dhabi Engineering International Advisory Council and previously served as a trustee of Polytechnic University and the Millennium Challenge Corporation Advisory Board. He was appointed as an honorary global advisor for the PM World Journal and Library.

Bob served until 2006 as one of three U.S. presidential appointees to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Advisory Council (ABAC). He chaired the World Economic Forum’s Engineering & Construction Governors and co-chaired the infrastructure task force in New York after 9/11.  He can be contacted at rpstrategic@comcast.net.


[i] Prieto, R. (2024). Quantum Project Management PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue I, January 2024. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/377219948_Quantum_Project_Management
[ii] Prieto, R. (2011). The GIGA Factor; Program Management in the Engineering & Construction Industry Construction Management Association of America ISBN: 978-1-938014-99-4 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299979792_The_GIGA_Factor_Program_Management_in_the_Engineering_Construction_Industry
[iii] Prieto, R. (2015). Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects Construction Management Association of America ISBN: ISBN 580-0-111776-07-9 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299980338_Theory_of_Management_of_Large_Complex_Projects
[iv] Prieto, R. (2024). Quantum Project Management and the Concept of Space-time PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue V, May. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/380398149_Quantum_Project_Management_and_the_Concept_of_Space-time_1#fullTextFileContent
[v] The Real Problem with Quantum Mechanics  https://youtube.com/watch?v=LJzKLTavk-w&si=LoNoaFimiC-IVd9m