Book review: Managing sustainable development programmes

11th October 2012


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Managing sustainable development programmes

Göran Brulin and Lennart Svensson / Gower / Hardback £65 / ISBN: 978-1-4094-3719-2

European structural funds were developed to assist EU member states to improve infrastructure, strengthen competitiveness and increase employment.

However, these projects have not always succeeded in achieving their intended aims or maintained their benefits after funding ended. It is important, therefore, to ask how such programmes can be designed to deliver more effectively, achieve long-lasting results and incorporate continuous improvement into their methodology.

In this book, Brulin and Svensson have developed a strong critique of traditional programme implementation, reviewing the role of the project manager and the suitability of linear programme logic.

Instead, they advocate active-ownership management, with a focus on stakeholder collaboration and dynamic learning to provide a multiplier effect for projects. They also highlight aspects of programme design that will allow activities in projects to continue after funding ceases.

The book offers an alternative to traditional project management where the “planning- and method-steered project thinking is supplemented, and to some extent replaced, by an alternative view of knowledge formation where processes, learning, innovation and coordination are central elements”.

This book provides useful insights for all those involved in managing complex projects.


Review by Darren Chadwick, director at Brite Green and sustainability tutor at Oxford University

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