Project Management for Democracy: A Case Study from the National Assembly 2009 in Iceland

Helgi Thor Ingason / Haukur Ingi Jonasson

The paper considers project management roles and practices in light of the preparation and running of a major public event in Iceland, during which 1,231 Icelanders identified their nation's normative values and drafted a vision for its future. The paper reviews data collected by its authors who surveyed Assembly participants, professional facilitators and qualified observers on their experience, and discusses the successes and lessons learned of the Assembly's project management practice. It finds that the project, without a definitive project owner, was prepared and executed by a self-organizing team that applied prototyping techniques; that its success was made possible by open discussion, democratic decision-making, and the commitment and dedicated social interaction of participants; and that along with the Assembly's need for better organisation, clearer goals and more effective decision-making, there is a general need for a better defined project management framework for strategic projects of this kind.