Complex Projects

Further to two earlier posts on the subject projects aren’t projects I have run across an interesting journal paper from Jon Whitty focused on Complexity.

A number of organisations are promoting the concept of ‘complex project management’; many other commentators, including me, feel complexity is a factor in every project. The elements of complexity theory include non linearity, emergence and unpredictability. In project management space, this translates to the interactions of people involved in and around the project to each other and to the project work (for more on this see A Simple View of Complexity in Project Management).

Jon’s paper reinforces the argument that projects have multiple dimensions and additionally projects and programs are quite different. Whilst there is likely to be a correlation between size and complexity, the two dimensions are not directly related! To read more see:

One response to “Complex Projects

  1. Pat,
    I’ve read the risk paper. Thoughtful. Here in space and defense there is a heated conversation about “risk and opportunity” being the two sides of the same coin.

    Ed Conrow’s article in the Defense AT&L March-April 2008 issue speaks to the problem. Ed’s book is the “handbook” for our manned spaceflight program.

    As well the PMBOK Risk Chapter is not-allowed as the basis of risk management in DoD. There is a DoD PMBOK at the DAU site, as well as the SEI Continuous Risk Management (CRM) Process Area Handbook are allowed on our Air Force programs. NASA has their own versions of this. BTW the former $70 SEI CRM Handbook, is now available in scanned form.

    I use a phrase…

    Enterprise Class projects are not just larger, small projects. They are a whole different animal.

    When people start talking about growing small projects to bigger ones, or a small number of projeccts to a large number.

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