Hard and soft projects: a framework for analysis

by Lynn Crawford, Julien Pollack
International Journal of Project Management ()


This paper provides clarification on the use of the terms `hard' and `soft' in the context of project and program management, by exploring what it means for a project to be hard or soft. This paper draws on the authors' practice based research into large organisational change programs in a variety of contexts, and the literature on project management, systems thinking and evaluation. A framework for exploring the hardness and softness of project process and outcomes is provided. It acts as an aid to structured discussion and informed decision making about the application of methods for managing projects and programs and the appropriate methods for evaluating their success. This framework is designed to aid in the transfer of lessons learned to practice by offering a common point of comparison between projects, and has potential for use as a predictive aid to resourcing. Its use is demonstrated in three cases.

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