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Welcome to the Complex Service Delivery Website (please watch the short welcome video on the right).  This site is managed by  Dr. Jean Harvey, Professor of operational excellence at ESG-UQAM, a Montreal-based public university (http://www.esg.uqam.ca/en.htm) and aims at the general diffusion of knowledge about operation excellence in complex services. They are services sought because of a lack of knowledge or skills in a complex field such as law, engineering, or medicine. The many organizations that provide services requiring a mixture of professional and other services, such as hospitals, banks, insurance companies, consultants of all kinds, governments, and educational institutions at all levels, face particular challenges in aligning their actions with their strategy. The material offered here can help these organizations in improving this alignment.


Project and processes: A convenient but simplistic dichotomy

November 26th, 2018|

This paper explores commonalities and differences between projects and processes, and between project management and process management, with a view to challenging this dichotomic typology, clarifying the gray areas in between and proposing better ways to classify and […]


Complex Service Delivery,
American Society for Quality


Expert and professionals are some of the most rigorous and structured people in our advanced economies. They are trained to understand the relationships in a system of complex notions (such as the human body, the legal system, or the laws of physics) and to use different techniques and procedures to intervene and effect desirable changes for the benefit of a client. Yet, a single individual, competent as he may be, cannot single-handedly bring about the solutions that people and organizations need. For all their strengths, and probably because of that training, professionals are staunch individualists and often do not function well in teams, especially multidisciplinary ones. This situation is largely attributable to their lack of understanding of how organizations work. Ironically, they are unable to transfer the systems notions that have become second nature to them in their discipline, to the discipline of management. This web site is dedicated dedicated to such a transfer.

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This videos series (15 to 30 minute each) are meant to be a user-friendly complement to the book. They are full of illustrations, examples, and metaphors of all kinds meant to make to this potentially complex topic accessible, interesting, and usable by business people with all types of background. While the three-part series “Deploying complex services for maximum value creation” is a good place to start, as it is a 60 minute overview of the book, feel free to start on any topic that tickles you fancy or that addresses a topic of immediate interest to you or your organization. “The power of complex services: foster, use, and abuse” also provides an overview from a less technical perspective, using a series of nine examples as connecting thread.

Feedback is welcome at


If much of your time is spent travelling by car, aircraft, train, or even horseback for that matter, you cannot read books or watch videoclips, but you can listen to podcasts.  The following podcasts are meant for easy listening.  Averaging about 15 minutes, they are full of stories and illustrations that facilitate initial understanding of the underlying concepts.   This is not enough to make you an expert, but it can give you a head start that will make entice you to view the videos.  With this, you will be able to count yourself among the initiated.  From there to reading the books and starting to experiment on your own, there is but one small step, which I am sure you will take.  Painlessly.