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15327 Managing Project Complexity

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15327 Managing Project Complexity

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15327 Managing Project Complexity

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Course Code: 15327
University: University Of Technology Sydney

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Country: Australia

Question:

Discuss the tools and techniques, causes and theories related to complexity in project management.

Answer:

Theories and ideas related to complexity in project management:
Failures in project management is explained by some theories like the complexity theory. Theories help the project managers to identify the complex areas in a project and compare them with project standards such that the complexity can be resolved. Several research has examined and analysed the presumed failures in complex projects. However, project downfall continue to occur in an unexpected way. The following paragraph will describe the complexity theory and its effectiveness in handling complex projects.
Project management is outcome oriented and therefore unpredictable outcome is not at all desired. Complexity theory helps to explain complexity better than the mechanistic theories. Complexity theory is a combination of chaotic theory, information theory and cognitive psychology. This theory does not change the natural and artificial systems. The theory strives to explain the chaotic situation of the project when the outcome goes out of control. Complexity theory allows system thinking and the part of the theory that enables it is the complex adaptive systems (Obolensky, 2017). The adaptive system has some characteristics like the nonlinearity, path dependency, distinction between cause and effect as well as emergence (Martinsuo, 2013). Researchers argue that stability in the systems can reduce the project complexity largely. Stability can be maintained by negative feedback loops. For example, in our body system when the oxygen level in blood decreases the high breathing rates stabilizes the blood oxygen level. Same concept applies in case of complex project management.
Reasons for complexity in projects, environments and properties:
As viewed by the authors, human behaviour is the major cause of complexity in project management. It is the responsibility of the project managers to check the interaction among the team members of the project. Project managers are trained to increase their leadership and managerial skills such that they can effectively manage the team and guide them to achieve the goals of the project (Gligoric et al., 2013). Projects that are managed by efficient manager proves to be less complex. The negative behaviour of the members increases the complexity of project with its progress. Research found that partiality among different groups might lead to project complexity. Therefore, the project manager needs to treat all people working under him equally such that peace is maintained among them.
The properties of complex projects are poor planning and structuring of the project, uncontrollable project outcomes, diverting from the main goals of the project, inefficient project manager and conflicts among the project group members (Ackermann & Alexander, 2016). Complexity of the projects are highly influenced by the external and the internal environments of the projects. External environment includes tough competition between similar projects undertaken by different organisation. Competency on one hand might prove to be useful however, can also harm the efficiency of the project (Ahern, Leavy & Byrne, 2014). Internal environment of projects are related to relationships among the team members. When a project faces complex scenarios, unity in the team help to resolve the issues fast. Team spirit matters for the successful achievement of project goals. 
Tools and techniques that will help project managers to handle complex projects:
In order to manage the complexity of projects, project managers should first focus on personal improvement of their managing and team building skills. They will have to increase their knowledge on leadership and business strategies. Learning will help him face challenges as the complexity in the global market is increasing.
Various tools and techniques will help project managers mentor complexity of the project. PMI’s Talent Triangle will help managers to identify the areas where he is lacking sufficient knowledge and skills (Remington & Pollack, 2016). The triangle focuses on three aspects: leadership, technical project management and strategic business management. It is the responsibility of the project manager to choose highly skilled members required for the project. Therefore, he should be aware of the objectives and scope of the project and accordingly take decisions. He should prepare a working project complexity model that will analyse the enterprise during study of the project. Once the risks and complexities are identified proper solution should be planned beforehand. The project should be divided into small parts and allotted to expert groups to facilitate smooth working of the project. Therefore, if the project manager follows the above discussed tools and techniques then he will be able to manage a complex project with great efficiency.
References:
Ackermann, F., & Alexander, J. (2016). Researching complex projects: Using causal mapping to take a systems perspective. International Journal of Project Management, 34(6), 891-901.
Ahern, T., Leavy, B., & Byrne, P. J. (2014). Complex project management as complex problem solving: A distributed knowledge management perspective. International Journal of Project Management, 32(8), 1371-1381.
Gligoric, M., Behrang, F., Li, Y., Overbey, J., Hafiz, M., & Marinov, D. (2013, July). Systematic testing of refactoring engines on real software projects. In European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (pp. 629-653). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.
Martinsuo, M. (2013). Project portfolio management in practice and in context. International Journal of Project Management, 31(6), 794-803.
Obolensky, N. (2017). Complex adaptive leadership: Embracing paradox and uncertainty. Routledge.
Remington, K., & Pollack, J. (2016). Tools for complex projects. Routledge.

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