Project Management has evolved itself in the last few centuries. In the bygone era there were number of complex projects which were tackled with simple methodologies and right techniques. The thumb rule of managing complex projects is the same even in the 21st century; it is just about tapping the right management skills, knowledge and tools.
What makes a project complex?
The numbers of variable components which are involved in the project are the factors which make a project complex. The complexity means the number of components involved in the project and the process of planning for those components at the lowest level of detail. Uncertainty is also a factor while deciding about the complexity of a project.
There are capability attributes and project specific attributes which decide on the complexity of a project.
Capability attributes of a project are related to the overall capability of the project which amounts to
· Leadership style and behavioural aspects of the project manager and the team members like focus, vision and courage.
· Experience of the team and track record
· Novelty in the technology you are using
· Flexibility and creativity
· Risk appetite and tolerance
· Internal and external factors
Project specific attributes are related to the maturity and stability of the project
· The triple constraint, scope, cost and time
· Rules and regulation
· Stakeholder geographies and number
· Organizational stability
These factors contribute to the complexity and when you are aware of the root of complexity, the way to tackle it would seem easy too.
According to a survey conducted by ProjectManagement Institute (PMI,USA) it is concluded that highly complex projects have been using the same management techniques as followed for managing simple projects. The organization possesses same level of maturity while handling complex projects.
There are bound to be some secret ingredients which are beyond these simple methodologies, yet help to manage complex projects with élan.
Techniques to handle complexities of the project
Developing a robust methodology:
The mantra of a successful project lies in creating a project specific methodology. There are frameworks established by not for profit organizations. Clues can be taken from those frameworks and a robust methodology can be developed to handle the primary and secondary constraints effectively. Developing a way to reach the goal is half way done; communicating the intricacies and dependencies of the methodology to all the possible stakeholders holds the key to success of the complex projects.
Creating an inclusive project management culture
Human behaviour is the most important aspect of project management. It is one of the seven conflict generating factor in the project. Engaging stakeholders in efficient manner, coordinating with them on important issues and as mentioned above, communicating each aspect of the project may prove beneficial. The management of a project has to be inclusive of the entire bunch of the stakeholders as it would create a kind of cohesiveness among the project team members (working, non-working) which could attribute greatly to the project’s success.
Developing the next line of leadership
You can develop capability of your project through developing the next line of leadership. Building leadership skills and mentoring your subordinates can create a healthy environment at a project place reducing conflicts. It also enhances the capacity of project team to handle uncertainties.
Communication Management is one of the most important knowledge areas in project management. Managing communication comes later than identifying stakeholders. It is very crucial to identify stakeholders and their impact, interest and influence on the project. Furthermore, engaging stakeholders efficiently using stakeholder analysis and other tools is useful for the benefit of the project.
Foresight for risk
Organization’s risk appetite plays important role in handling complex projects. Project’s risks are those uncertainties which may create a huge mayhem in your smooth sailing project. A project manager should be well equipped with risk management strategies to make a project risk tolerant.In case of simple or complex projects going back to the basics of project management fundamentals and equipping yourself with relevant tools are the two essentials which along with the factors mentioned above have contributed largely to the success of the complex projects.