Managing Project Complexity

In striving to achieve more with less, projects are increasing in their complexity. This recent trend challenges common assumptions upon which industry-standard tools and methodologies are based on. As a result, costly failures are becoming increasingly common. Complexity science offers an alternative take on managing such projects.

Project complexity manifests in various dimensions (e.g. dynamic, structural etc.), yet it is rarely measured in a quantitative way. This inefficiency stems from the traditional perspective of viewing projects as transformative processes.


Through this course, individuals will be introduced to a novel perspective, where projects are viewed as complex systems. By doing so, this course offers an in-depth analysis on how complexity can be measured, whilst providing parallels between projects and other complex systems ranging from software and printed circuit boards to the entire Internet. Examples of possible consequences of this complexity will also be presented using real-world data, focusing on systemic risk and the effectiveness/efficiency of local mitigation in shielding against it.

What does it include?

  • Overview of a methodology on using widely-used data to view projects as complex systems

  • Brief overview on deficiencies of traditionally used tools (e.g. Critical Path, PERT)

  • Introduction to project complexity measurement, enabling direct comparisons between projects and other complex systems

  • Understanding the consequences of project complexity, in terms of failure cascades and risk mitigation

What will you gain?

  • Gain a deep understanding on the limitations of traditional project management techniques

  • Embrace complexity-inspired approaches for quantitatively assessing project complexity, enabling direct project comparison for project portfolio management

  • Appreciate the potential damaging consequences of project complexity

  • Visualisation techniques for spotting trends during the duration of a project


Who is it for: Senior Project Managers, Project clients, Strategic Advisors

How long: Two to four days (depending on client requirements)

Extra Features: This course, can be combined with "Network Analysis of Complex Systems for Business" to provide a complete overview on how to tackle complexity.

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