Stakeholders and Complexity in the project management environment

Project management writings of the last few years suggest that ‘people skills’ and leadership are important attributes of a successful Project Manager and effective stakeholder management is definitely seen as a major item in delivering project success[2]. Within this emerging people centric paradigm, complexity theory helps us to understand the social behaviours of teams and the networks of people involved in and around a project. The idea of complexity applies equally to small in-house projects and large complicated programs; in this regard, ‘complexity’ is not a synonym for ‘complicated’ or ‘large’.


Complexity: A new, comprehensive, metric for project management

Project Management is, to me, a “Art form”! I am full of admiration for people who have the responsibility for, in particular, major construction contracts and recently had the privilege of meeting “the man” with the job at Heathrow T5…now that sounds like enormous pressure to me.  Apart from the range of skills, tools, materials and plant required and, often, widely sourced, there is the small matter of UK weather problems and the looming shadow of penalty clauses.


There is a lot to watch, even with a good team and a detailed Gantt chart. But what does a good PM do about complexity?

The reaction of most would be tell me exactly what to do or where to put complexity!

But what if, by managing project complexity the PM’s role was actually simplified?

That couldn’t happen…could it? Really!? Well think about it. Such projects demonstrate the inter-connectedness of a wide range of tasks and disciplines. They are interdependent components of a “system” created to play their part of the ultimate success of a single project. The common goal.

Well read this article, the result of a collaboration among three of my colleagues at Ontonix.

If you are an experienced Project Manager I would welcome your feedback or any questions for my colleagues.

Dr David Hancock: How should the project and risk professional exist in this world of future uncertainty?

In this paper [The application of the ‘New Sciences’ to Risk and Project Management] David Hancock poses some very interesting questions  about the existing perceptions and future solutions for Risk (and Project) Managers:

Wise man & Foolish man“The general perception amongst most project and risk managers that we can somehow control the future is, in my opinion, one of the most ill-conceived in risk management”.

“The biggest problem facing us is how to measure all these risks in terms of their potential likelihood, their possible consequences, their correlation and the public’s perception of them”.

It is a very interesting piece by a “leading light” in the industry.

Unsurprisingly I see it as, a further endorsement of my belief that, in future, the task of managing risk can only truly begin by, firstly, measuring and managing underlying “system” complexity.

Otherwise risk management is akin to building on sand!

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