This article introducing the Special Issue begins with a review of development administration and management's post-independence history, outlining the new challenges posed by the rise of the governance model and critical development management. The seven articles, which follow, are then summarised. We extrapolate from them to suggest new directions for development management: a better understanding of the relationship between politics and management; using a more nuanced view of policy to inform development management specialists' ethical choices between policies; understanding policy capture by hostile interests; taking the ‘view from below’, studying local sensemaking and the way it affects programme outcomes, and the interaction of power and knowledge. Suggested new directions include a focus on the practice of development agencies and on developing appropriate research methodologies. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.