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Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2013
www.aipm.com.au Project Manager 17 BY CLAIRE CHAFFEY WHILE COMPLEX PROJECT MANAGEMENT THEORY IS STILL IN A STATE OF FLUX, THERE ARE KEY PRINCIPLES THAT ENABLE PROJECT MANAGERS TO ADEQUATELY DEAL WITH COMPLEX PROJECTS. W hen the Americans managed to land the rst man on the moon in 1969, the whole world watched with awe and wonder. How could something so mar vellous have been achieved? How could such a complex idea actually work? e key to the mission's success, though, was that it was, in fact, not a complex project at all. Complicated? Yes. Remarkable? De nitely. However, the American Space Project was the successful application of physics and engineering within a predictable, measurable and stable environment. Although a grandiose result, the mission was a traditional -- or linear -- project, managed within the bounds of traditional project management tools and theories. So if landing on the moon is not considered complex, just what constitutes a complex project? And how do project managers go about managing them? Debates and definitions Although complex project management (CPM) is now a well-recognised idea both in Australia and inter nationally, there is still no settled CPM theory per se, and even agreeing on a universally accepted de nition of comple xity has proven a challenge. Stephen Hayes, the Managing Director and CEO of the Inter national Centre for Complex Project Management, says that given the absence of an agreed theory, it would be arrogant to try to suggest what the de nition of comple xity is. What he can say, however, is that CPM does not supplant traditional project management and must work alongside it. "CPM is moving beyond the hierarchical, linear perspective that we have seen developed over many years," he says. "Some projects are so complex that the traditional methods, while important, are not sufficient." Associate Professor Simon Atkinson of the Complex Civil Systems Research Group and Project Management Programme, Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney, says high levels of ambiguity and uncertainty typically characterise complex projects. "Often you are dealing with instabilities, and di erent classes of instability," he says. "CPM is not simply dealing with large scales. It's dealing with what I would say is the non-linear: projects where two and two simply don't make four." ( THE SQUARE OUTSIDE SO IF LANDING ON THE MOON IS NOT CONSIDERED COMPLEX, JUST WHAT CONSTITUTES A COMPLEX PROJECT?
Project Manager Apr May 2013
Project Manager Aug Sept 2013