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PROJECT MANAGEMENT: THE MANAGERIAL PROCESS, EIGHTH EDITION
Published by McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121. Copyright © 2021 by
McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Previous
editions © 2018, 2014, and 2011. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in any
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ISBN 978-1-260-23886-0 (bound edition)
MHID 1-260-23886-5 (bound edition)
ISBN 978-1-260-73615-1 (loose-leaf edition)
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All credits appearing on page or at the end of the book are considered to be an extension of the
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Gray, Clifford F., author. | Larson, Erik W., 1952- author.
Title: Project management : the managerial process / Erik W. Larson,
Clifford F. Gray, Oregon State University.
Description: Eighth edition. | New York, NY : McGraw-Hill Education, 
| Clifford F. Gray appears as the first named author in earlier
editions. | Includes bibliographical references and index. | Summary:
“Our motivation in writing this text continues to be to provide a
realistic, socio-technical view of project management. In the past,
textbooks on project management focused almost exclusively on the tools
and processes used to manage projects and not the human dimension”–
Provided by publisher.
Identifiers: LCCN 2019028390 (print) | LCCN 2019028391 (ebook) |
ISBN 9781260238860 (paperback) | ISBN 1260238865 (paperback) |
ISBN 9781260242379 (ebook)
Subjects: LCSH: Project management. | Time management. | Risk management.
Classification: LCC HD69.P75 G72 2021 (print) | LCC HD69.P75 (ebook) |
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019028390
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The Internet addresses listed in the text were accurate at the time of publication. The inclusion of a
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About the Authors
Erik W. Larson
ERIK W. LARSON is professor emeritus of project management at the
College of Business, Oregon State University. He teaches executive,
graduate, and undergraduate courses on project management and leadership.
His research and consulting activities focus on project management. He has
published numerous articles on matrix management, product development,
and project partnering. He has been honored with teaching awards from
both the Oregon State University MBA program and the University of
Oregon Executive MBA program. He has been a member of the Project
Management Institute since 1984. In 1995 he worked as a Fulbright scholar
with faculty at the Krakow Academy of Economics on modernizing Polish
business education. He was a visiting professor at Chulalongkorn
University in Bangkok, Thailand, and at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative
State University in Bad Mergentheim, Germany. He received a B.A. in
psychology from Claremont McKenna College and a Ph.D. in management
from State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a certified Project
Management Professional (PMP) and Scrum master.
Clifford F. Gray
CLIFFORD F. GRAY is professor emeritus of management at the College
of Business, Oregon State University. He has personally taught more than
100 executive development seminars and workshops. Cliff has been a
member of the Project Management Institute since 1976 and was one of the
founders of the Portland, Oregon, chapter. He was a visiting professor at
Kasetsart University in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2005. He was the president
of Project Management International, Inc. (a training and consulting firm
specializing in project management) 1977–2005. He received his B.A. in
economics and management from Millikin University, M.B.A. from Indiana
University, and doctorate in operations management from the College of
Business, University of Oregon. He is a certified Scrum master.
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea,
never regains its original dimensions.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
To my family, who have always encircled me
with love and encouragement—my parents
(Samuel and Charlotte), my wife (Mary), my
sons and their wives (Kevin and Dawn, Robert
and Sally), and their children (Ryan, Carly,
Connor and Lauren).
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the
world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to
adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman
To Ann, whose love and support have brought
out the best in me. To our girls Mary, Rachel,
and Tor-Tor for the joy and pride they give me.
And to our grandkids, Mr. B, Livvy, Jasper
Jones!, Baby Ya Ya, Juniper Berry, and Callie,
whose future depends upon effective project
management. Finally, to my muse, Neil—walk
Our motivation in writing this text continues to be to provide a realistic,
socio-technical view of project management. In the past, textbooks on
project management focused almost exclusively on the tools and processes
used to manage projects and not the human dimension. This baffled us,
since people, not tools, complete projects! While we firmly believe that
mastering tools and processes is essential to successful project
management, we also believe that the effectiveness of these tools and
methods is shaped and determined by the prevailing culture of the
organization and interpersonal dynamics of the people involved. Thus, we
try to provide a holistic view that focuses on both the technical and social
dimensions and how they interact to determine the fate of projects.
This text is written for a wide audience. It covers concepts and skills that
are used by managers to propose, plan, secure resources, budget, and lead
project teams to successful completions of their projects. The text should
prove useful to students and prospective project managers in helping them
understand why organizations have developed a formal project management
process to gain a competitive advantage. Readers will find the concepts and
techniques discussed in enough detail to be immediately useful in newproject situations. Practicing project managers will find the text to be a
valuable guide and reference when dealing with typical problems that arise
in the course of a project. Managers will also find the text useful in
understanding the role of projects in the missions of their organizations.
Analysts will find the text useful in helping to explain the data needed for
project implementation as well as the operations of inherited or purchased
Members of the Project Management Institute will find the text is well
structured to meet the needs of those wishing to prepare for PMP (Project
Management Professional) or CAPM (Certified Associate in Project
Management) certification exams. The text has in-depth coverage of the
most critical topics found in PMI’s Project Management Body of
Knowledge (PMBOK). People at all levels in the organization assigned to
work on projects will find the text useful not only in providing them with a
rationale for the use of project management processes but also because of
the insights they will gain into how to enhance their contributions to project
Our emphasis is not only on how the management process works but
also, and more importantly, on why it works. The concepts, principles, and
techniques are universally applicable. That is, the text does not specialize
by industry type or project scope. Instead, the text is written for the
individual who will be required to manage a variety of projects in a variety
of organizational settings. In the case of some small projects, a few of the
steps of the techniques can be omitted, but the conceptual framework
applies to all organizations in which projects are important to survival. The
approach can be used in pure project organizations such as construction,
research organizations, and engineering consultancy firms. At the same
time, this approach will benefit organizations that carry out many small
projects while the daily effort of delivering products or services continues.
In this and other editions we continue to try to resist the forces that
engender scope creep and focus only on essential tools and concepts that
are being used in the real world. We have been guided by feedback from
reviewers, practitioners, teachers, and students. Some changes are minor
and incremental, designed to clarify and reduce confusion. Other changes
are significant. They represent new developments in the field or better ways
of teaching project management principles. Below are major changes to the
All material has been reviewed and revised based on the latest edition of
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Sixth Edition, 2017.
Discussion questions for most Snapshots from Practice are now at the
end of each chapter.
Many of the Snapshots from Practice have been expanded to more fully
cover the examples.
Agile Project Management is introduced in Chapter 1 and discussed
when appropriate in subsequent chapters, with Chapter 15 providing a
more complete coverage of the methodology.
A new set of exercises have been developed for Chapter 5.
New student exercises and cases have been added to chapters.
The Snapshot from Practice boxes feature a number of new examples of
project management in action.
The Instructor’s Manual contains a listing of current YouTube videos that
correspond to key concepts and Snapshots from Practice.
Overall the text addresses the major questions and challenges the
authors have encountered over their 60 combined years of teaching project
management and consulting with practicing project managers in domestic
and foreign environments. These questions include the following: How
should projects be prioritized? What factors contribute to project failure or
success? How do project managers orchestrate the complex network of
relationships involving vendors, subcontractors, project team members,
senior management, functional managers, and customers that affect project
success? What project management system can be set up to gain some
measure of control? How are projects managed when the customers are not
sure what they want? How do project managers work with people from
Project managers must deal with all these concerns to be effective. All
of these issues and problems represent linkages to a socio-technical project
management perspective. The chapter content of the text has been placed
within an overall framework that integrates these topics in a holistic
manner. Cases and snapshots are included from the experiences of
practicing managers. The future for project managers is exciting. Careers
will be built on successfully managing projects.
Student Learning Aids
Student resources include study outlines, online quizzes, PowerPoint slides,
videos, Microsoft Project Video Tutorials, and web links. These can be
found in Connect.
We would like to thank Scott Bailey for building the end-of-chapter
exercises for Connect; Pinyarat Sirisomboonsuk for revising the
PowerPoint slides; Ronny Richardson for updating the Instructor’s Manual;
Angelo Serra for updating the Test Bank; and Pinyarat Sirisomboonsuk for
providing new Snapshot from Practice questions.
Next, it is important to note that the text includes contributions from
numerous students, colleagues, friends, and managers gleaned from
professional conversations. We want them to know we sincerely appreciate
their counsel and suggestions. Almost every exercise, case, and example in
the text is drawn from a real-world project. Special thanks to managers who
graciously shared their current project as ideas for exercises, subjects for
cases, and examples for the text. John A. Drexler, Jim Moran, John Sloan,
Pat Taylor, and John Wold, whose work is printed, are gratefully
acknowledged. Special gratitude is due Robert Breitbarth of Interact
Management, who shared invaluable insights on prioritizing projects.
University students and managers deserve special accolades for identifying
problems with earlier drafts of the text and exercises.
We are indebted to the reviewers of past editions who shared our
commitment to elevating the instruction of project management. We thank
you for your many thoughtful suggestions and for making our book better.
Of course, we accept responsibility for the final version of the text.
Paul S. Allen, Rice University
Victor Allen, Lawrence Technological University
Kwasi Amoako-Gyampah, University of North Carolina–Greensboro
Gregory Anderson, Weber State University
Mark Angolia, East Carolina University
Brian M. Ashford, North Carolina State University
Dana Bachman, Colorado Christian University
Robin Bagent, College of Southern Idaho
Scott Bailey, Troy University
Nabil Bedewi, Georgetown University
Anandhi Bharadwaj, Emory University
James Blair, Washington University–St. Louis
Mary Jean Blink, Mount St. Joseph University
S. Narayan Bodapati, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
Warren J. Boe, University of Iowa
Thomas Calderon, University of Akron
Alan Cannon, University of Texas–Arlington
Susan Cholette, San Francisco State
Denis F. Cioffi, George Washington University
Robert Cope, Southeastern Louisiana University
Kenneth DaRin, Clarkson University
Ron Darnell, Amberton University
Burton Dean, San Jose State University
Joseph D. DeVoss, DeVry University
David Duby, Liberty University
Michael Ensby, Clarkson University
Charles Franz, University of Missouri, Columbia
Larry Frazier, City University of Seattle
Raouf Ghattas, DeVry University
Edward J. Glantz, Pennsylvania State University
Michael Godfrey, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
Jay Goldberg, Marquette University
Robert Groff, Westwood College
Raffael Guidone, New York City College of Technology
Brian Gurney, Montana State University–Billings
Owen P. Hall, Pepperdine University
Chaodong Han, Towson University
Bruce C. Hartman, University of Arizona
Mark Huber, University of Georgia
Richard Irving, York University
Marshall Issen, Clarkson University
Robert T. Jones, DePaul University
Susan Kendall, Arapahoe Community College
George Kenyon, Lamar University
Robert Key, University of Phoenix
Elias Konwufine, Keiser University
Dennis Krumwiede, Idaho State University
Rafael Landaeta, Old Dominion University
Eldon Larsen, Marshall University
Eric T. Larson, Rutgers University
Philip Lee, Lone Star College–University Park
Charles Lesko, East Carolina University
Richard L. Luebbe, Miami University of Ohio
Linh Luong, City University of Seattle
Steve Machon, DeVry University–Tinley Park
Andrew Manikas, University of Louisville
William Matthews, William Patterson University
Lacey McNeely, Oregon State University
Carol Miller, Community College of Denver
William Moylan, Lawrence Technological College of Business
Ravi Narayanaswamy, University of South Carolina–Aiken
Muhammad Obeidat, Southern Polytechnic State University
Edward Pascal, University of Ottawa
James H. Patterson, Indiana University
Steve Peng, California State University–East Bay
Nicholas C. Petruzzi, University of Illinois–Urbana/Champaign
Abirami Radhakrishnan, Morgan State University
Emad Rahim, Bellevue University
Tom Robbins, East Carolina University
Art Rogers, City University
Linda Rose, Westwood College
Pauline Schilpzand, Oregon State University
Teresa Shaft, University of Oklahoma
Russell T. Shaver, Kennesaw State University
William R. Sherrard, San Diego State University
Erin Sims, DeVry University–Pomona
Donald Smith, Texas A&M University
Kenneth Solheim, DeVry University–Federal Way
Christy Strbiak, U.S. Air Force Academy
Peter Sutanto, Prairie View A&M University
Jon Tomlinson, University of Northwestern Ohio
Oya Tukel, Cleveland State University
David A. Vaughan, City University
Mahmoud Watad, William Paterson University
Fen Wang, Central Washington University
Cynthia Wessel, Lindenwood University
Larry R. White, Eastern Illinois University
Ronald W. Witzel, Keller Graduate School of Management
G. Peter Zhang, Georgia State University
In addition, we would like to thank our colleagues in the College of
Business at Oregon State University for their support and help in
completing this project. In particular, we recognize Lacey McNeely, Prem
Mathew, and Jeewon Chou for their helpful advice and suggestions. We
also wish to thank the many students who helped us at different stages of
this project, most notably Neil Young, Saajan Patel, Katherine Knox, Dat
Nguyen, and David Dempsey. Mary Gray deserves special credit for editing
and working under tight deadlines on earlier editions. Special thanks go to
Pinyarat (“Minkster”) Sirisomboonsuk for her help in preparing the last five
Finally, we want to extend our thanks to all the people at McGraw-Hill
Education for their efforts and support. First, we would like to thank Noelle
Bathurst and Sarah Wood, for providing editorial direction, guidance, and
management of the book’s development for the eighth edition. And we
would also like to thank Sandy Wille, Sandy Ludovissy, Egzon Shaqiri,
Beth Cray, and Angela Norris for managing the final production, design,
supplement, and media phases of the eighth edition.
Erik W. Larson
Clifford F. Gray
Established Learning Objectives
Learning objectives are listed both at the beginning of each chapter and are
called out as marginal elements throughout the narrative in each chapter.
Both static and algorithmic end-of-chapter content, including Review
Questions and Exercises, are assignable in Connect.
The SmartBook has been updated with new highlights and probes for
optimal student learning.
The Snapshot from Practice boxes have been updated to include a number
of new examples of project management in action. New discussion
questions based on the Snapshots have been added to the end-of-chapter
material and are assignable in Connect.
New and Updated Cases
Included at the end of each chapter are between one and five cases that
demonstrate key ideas from the text and help students understand how
project management comes into play in the real world. Cases have been
reviewed and updated across the eighth edition.
Instructor and Student Resources
Instructors and students can access all of the supplementary resources for
the eighth edition within Connect or directly at www.mhhe.com/larson8e.
Note to Student
You will find the content of this text highly practical, relevant, and current.
The concepts discussed are relatively simple and intuitive. As you study
each chapter we suggest you try to grasp not only how things work but also
why things work. You are encouraged to use the text as a handbook as you
move through the three levels of competency:
I can do.
I can adapt to new situations.
The field of project management is growing in importance and at an
exponential rate. It is nearly impossible to imagine a future management
career that does not include management of projects. Resumes of managers
will soon be primarily a description of their participation in and
contributions to projects.
Good luck on your journey through the text and on your future projects.
Chapter-by-Chapter Revisions for the Eighth
Chapter 1: Modern Project Management
New Snapshot: Project Management in Action 2019.
New Snapshot: London Calling: Seattle Seahawks versus Oakland
New case: A Day in the Life—2019.
New section on Agile Project Management.
Chapter 2: Organization Strategy and Project Selection
Chapter text refined and streamlined.
New section describing the phase gate model for selecting projects.
Chapter 3: Organization: Structure and Culture
New section on project management offices (PMOs).
New Snapshot: 2018 PMO of the Year.
Chapter 4: Defining the Project
Consistent with PMBOK 6th edition, the scope checklist includes
product scope description, justification/business case, and acceptance
Discussion of scope creep expanded.
New case: Celebration of Color 5K.
Chapter 5: Estimating Project Times and Costs
Snapshot from Practice on reducing estimating errors incorporated in the
Snapshot from Practice: London 2012 Olympics expanded.
A new set of six exercises.
Chapter 6: Developing a Project Schedule
Chapter 6 retitled Developing a Project Schedule to better reflect content.
New case: Ventura Baseball Stadium.
Chapter 7: Managing Risk
New Snapshot: Terminal Five—London Heathrow Airport.
Consistent with PMBOK 6e, “escalate” added to risk and opportunity
responses and “budget” reserves replaced by “contingency” reserves.
Chapter 8 Scheduling Resources and Costs
Two new exercises.
New case: Tham Luang Cave Rescue.
Chapter 9: Reducing Project Duration
Snapshot 9.1: Smartphone Wars updated.
New case: Ventura Baseball Stadium (B).
Chapter 10: Being an Effective Project Manager
Effective Communicator has replaced Skillful Politician as one of the 8
traits associated with being an effective project manager.
Research Highlight 10.1: Give and Take expanded.
Chapter 11: Managing Project Teams
A new review question and exercises added.
Chapter 12: Outsourcing: Managing Interorganizational
Snapshot 12.4: U.S. Department of Defense Value Engineering Awards
New exercise added.
Chapter 13 Progress and Performance Measurement and
Expanded discussion of the need for earned value management.
New case: Ventura Stadium Status Report.
Chapter 14: Project Closure
New case: Halo for Heroes II.
Chapter 15: Agile Project Management
Chapter revised to include discussions of Extreme programming,
Kanban, and hybrid models.
New Snapshot: League of Legends.
New case: Graham Nash.
Chapter 16: International Projects
Snapshots from Practice: The Filming of Apocalypse Now and River of
New case: Mr. Wui Goes to America.
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Support Analysts will be able to assist you in a timely fashion.
Modern Project Management
Organization Strategy and Project Selection
Organization: Structure and Culture
Defining the Project
Estimating Project Times and Costs
Developing a Project Schedule
Scheduling Resources and Costs
Reducing Project Duration
Being an Effective Project Manager
Managing Project Teams 390
Outsourcing: Managing Interorganizational Relations
Progress and Performance Measurement and Evaluation 474
Agile Project Management
One Solutions to Selected Exercises
Two Computer Project Exercises
PROJECT MANAGEMENT EQUATIONS 664
CROSS REFERENCE OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT
SOCIO-TECHNICAL APPROACH TO PROJECT
Modern Project Management
What Is a Project?
What a Project Is Not
Program versus Project
The Project Life Cycle
The Project Manager
Being Part of a Project Team
Agile Project Management
Current Drivers of Project Management
Compression of the Product Life Cycle
Triple Bottom Line (Planet, People, Profit)
Increased Customer Focus
Small Projects Represent Big Problems
Project Management Today: A Socio-Technical Approach
Organization Strategy and Project Selection
Why Project Managers Need to Understand Strategy
The Strategic Management Process: An Overview
Four Activities of the Strategic Management Process
The Need for a Project Priority System
Problem 1: The Implementation Gap
Problem 2: Organization Politics
Problem 3: Resource Conflicts and Multitasking
Phase Gate Model
Two Multi-Criteria Selection Models
Applying a Selection Model
Sources and Solicitation of Project Proposals
Ranking Proposals and Selection of Projects
Managing the Portfolio System
Senior Management Input
Governance Team Responsibilities
Balancing the Portfolio for Risks and Types of Projects
Organization: Structure and Culture
Project Management Structures
Organizing Projects within the Functional Organization
Organizing Projects as Dedicated Teams
Organizing Projects within a Matrix Arrangement
Different Matrix Forms
Project Management Office (PMO)
What Is the Right Project Management Structure?
What Is Organizational Culture?
Identifying Cultural Characteristics
Implications of Organizational Culture for Organizing Projects
Defining the Project
Step 1: Defining the Project Scope
Employing a Project Scope Checklist
Step 2: Establishing Project Priorities
Step 3: Creating the Work Breakdown Structure
Major Groupings in a WBS
How a WBS Helps the Project Manager
A Simple WBS Development
Step 4: Integrating the WBS with the Organization
Step 5: Coding the WBS for the Information System
Process Breakdown Structure