Managing the Urgent and Unexpected

Stephen Wearne & Keith White-Hunt               

Published by






Reviewed by

Mike Rees MBCS CITP, IT Consultant


7 out of 10

This book intends to help private and public sector organisations plan how to authorise and support urgent work, either to take advantage of new business opportunities or to protect or restore key systems and services.

The book reviews 12 real-life urgent and unexpected projects, how they were started and managed, and the lessons that can be learnt from these. These are all examples of projects with a successful outcome - but do we learn more from success or from failure?

The 12 case studies are categorised into the following four main types -

  • Urgent work in response to unexpected opportunities - for example the design and launch of the Freeview digital television service.
  • Urgent unexpected work to save assets under threat - for example the raising of the Ouse river banks.
  • Urgent unexpected work to restore failed or very damaged assets - for example the restoration of a 1km stretch of the East Coast Main Line.
  • Urgent unexpected work to find survivors and recover evidence of victims - for example the sifting and clear-up operation after 9/11.

The book can be evenly divided into approximately two halves - the authors’ narrative and then a detailed summary of each of the 12 case studies.

The research and analysis of  12 case studies is undeniably a labour-intensive task, but the summary of the collective lessons learnt from the case studies and other similar examples runs to only 15 pages, with a further 10 pages on applying these lessons in practice.

So, in terms of offering value for money, a bit disappointing.

It is suitable for lecturers and students of management; managers/project managers; and those involved in disaster-recovery, business continuity planning or incident management in both public and private sectors.

Further information: Gower

November 2014