Managing Complex Projects

Michael Cavanagh
19 April 2010

While it is inarguable that many complex pro-jects have indeed over-run and under-delivered, it is profoundly untrue that this is an inevitable outcome. Rather, it is simply the case that the prevailing acquisition environment militates towards failure. It is unrealistic to depend on toolsets and skillsets that may be adequate for simple projects but cannot cope with complex-ity. They might work sometimes – but their success has probably owed more to individual heroism and the conjunctions of the planets than the suitability of the processes deployed.

There are four major issues to address:

  1. The Conspiracy of Optimism.
  2. Appropriate Contracting Models;
  3. Committing before knowing what you are committing to.
  4. Complex Project Management Compe-tencies & Tools;

What is 2nd order PM? - Leadership in complex projects