Church of Ireland Priest-in-Charge of the Kenmare and Dromod Union, Chancellor – The Deans & Chapter of the Dioceses of Limerick & Killaloe, Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.

Reverend Michael Cavanagh is a Co-Founder of the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation and served as the Chair of the Foundation until 2023. 

In his 40-year career, Reverend Cavanagh has worked as a programmer, systems analyst, project manager, department head and consultant in a number of business sectors.

In later years, he concentrated upon the transfer of knowledge and wisdom in an organisational context, particularly with regard to good management practice. This work on experiential learning has led to the focus of his consulting activity being the use of systems thinking techniques to perform ‘forensic’ analysis of major project failure and the ways in which lessons can be derived and corrective process improvement implemented. 

A key assignment was advising on the design and implementation of a comprehensive organisational restructuring of a multi-billion pound project for a major multinational company, using a combination of soft systems, the viable systems model and a number of tools and methods developed specifically for the task.

His book introducing ‘2nd order’ programme management concepts and the need and justification for their application to highly complex projects, was published by Gower in January 2012. It is aimed at both practitioners and senior sponsoring management, with a particular emphasis on convincing senior management to invest in the application of advanced tools and techniques to deal with the inevitable uncertainties of highly complex projects. It has already been adopted by a leading us university as part of their advanced project management curriculum, and the concept of 2nd order pm is under consideration by a number of organisations as a development of their project management lifecycle standards.

Michael also lectured at Salford University, Manchester Business School and on the ethical implications of technology, experiential learning, business process modelling and project management in complex projects.

Michael is an ordained Anglican priest in the Church of Ireland and is responsible for the Churches of the Kenmare and Dromod Union, Co. Kerry. In 2023 he took up the role as Chancellor – The Deans & Chapter of the Dioceses of Limerick & Killaloe, at Saint Mary’s Cathedral, Limerick.