Alexander Laufer is an Israeli researcher, author, speaker, and consultant. He is best known for his work on developing a "theory of practice" for project management based on the tacit knowledge of competent practitioners from successful organizations.
Laufer currently serves as Director of the Center for Project Leadership at Columbia University. He is a chaired Professor of Civil Engineering at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, where he also served as Dean of the faculty. From 2001 to 2005, he served as the editor-in-chief of NASA's ASK Magazine, and he is currently a member of the editorial review board of the Project Management Journal.
Laufer’s first eight years of professional life were devoted to the design and implementation of construction projects. After receiving his Ph.D in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, he broadened his scope to the management of technological and organizational projects in a wide range of industries, both in the private and public sectors. There he realized the importance of learning to “unlearn” the traditional paradigms of project management to better suit more dynamic and uncertain project environments. In particular, he forwarded the notion that projects must be led, not just managed.
Laufer has authored and co-authored four books on project management. His most recent book, Breaking the Code of Project Management, tackles central issues and dilemmas in the complex reality of today’s project environments by using principles illustrated by real stories told by real people. It provides a model of practice, called Results-Focused Leadership, with five actionable principles: Plan and Control to Embrace Change; Create a Results-Oriented Focus; Develop a Will to Win; Collaborate through Interdependence and Trust; Update and Connect through Intensive Communication. The application of the principles is dependent on the unique context of the project.
- 1989 Owner’s Project Planning The Process Approach, North Carolina State University Raleigh, North Carolina
- 1997 Simultaneous Management, American Management Association
- 2000 Project Management Success Stories, John Wiley & Sons
- 2005 Shared Voyage, NASA
- 2009 Breaking the Code of Project Management, Palgrave Macmillan
- Todd Post (Jan/Feb 2003). "DAU Collaborates with NASA". Program Manager. Retrieved 2009-03-25. [dead link]
- "Columbia University Center for Project Leadership".
- "Dr. Alexander Laufer, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology".
- Alexander Laufer (Issue 21: Winter 2005). "Shared Voyage:Encouraging Unlearning". ASK Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-25. [dead link]
- Alexander Laufer (Issue 19: August 2004). "Managing Projects in a Dynamic Environment: Results-Focused Leadership". ASK Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-25. [dead link]