When it comes to managing complex projects, the last few years have been rather lackluster. Loto-Québec and Cirque du Soleil’s ill-fated project in Montreal’s South West borough comes to mind, as well as the oil port and terminal in Cacouna, also known as the Beluga Saga. Not to mention the ever-present orange cones in Montreal, pipelines, and more. We’ve developed highly effective tools to facilitate project management, yet we struggle to bring complex projects that might succeed under different circumstances to fruition. The problem may be that we are using approaches and methodologies that have a wide range of effects and are meant for simple projects, on complex projects.
Corporate planning classically uses a top-down approach, essentially an exercise in expertise: technical, financial and market expertise, to be precise. A goal is identified, experts are chosen to develop the project, its impact on the business on the environment is evaluated, the project is submitted to the Board, and it is set in motion. If it’s a simple project with little external impact, there are no problems. But what if the effects are too many, or too big? What if there are multiple advocates or stakeholders? What if their interests are different, or contradictory?
I wish to present a new perspective on how to conceptualise and plan these complex projects, which I will highlight through two starkly different examples: an urban revitalization project, and a reconciliation project in post-Apartheid South Africa. As social media become more efficient and powerful, as civil society’s demands to be heard increase, it is necessary for project managers to adopt a new strategy, or give in to standpattism, confrontation and repression.
Louis Roquet has held a number of positions as a civil servant throughout his career. He was the CEO of the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), CEO of Investissement Québec, the secretary-general of the City of Montreal and Director General of the Montreal Urban Community. He was President at Mouvement Desjardins and Chief Operating Officer of Desjardins Capital de risque from October 2004 to October 2009. He was also CEO at Cevital, an Algerian multinational, from 2012 to 2014.
On top of speaking five languages, Roquet has a PhD in business administration from Harvard University and an MBA in finance and international administration from HEC Montréal.
Roquet is the President of the Mosaicultures International Montreal’s Board of directors and Vice-President of Université de Montréal’s Board of Directors. He is also on the board of directors for Birks Group, the Canadian Cancer Society and Centraide.
Roquet is the recipient of the Grand Prix Équinoxe Hommage 2007, awarded by the Société québécoise des professionnels en relations publiques for exceptional work in communications as a company manager and was named MBA of the year in 2004 by the l’Association des MBA du Québec.