Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Understanding and managing project complexity
Author: Azim, Syed Waqar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2709 2099
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This research focuses on project complexity with the aim to better understand it and to highlight the factors that affect/contribute to it. In addition, this research also highlights key project management practices and project critical success factors considered important to manage project complexity/complex projects. The two main motivating factors behind this research were, the lack of understanding of complex projects and the lack of relevance of project management theory to practice, which have been highlighted by many researchers. Since projects in different sectors are increasingly being characterised as complex, this entails a better project management knowledge base focusing on the dynamic, social and complex contexts of projects, so that the interrelationships, interdependencies and uncertainties between different project interfaces can be understood and managed properly. In order to understand this 'project actuality', it was necessary to obtain the views from practitioners working in these project settings and managing project dynamics and intricacies. To establish this pragmatic view, a series of interviews and questionnaire surveys was carried out and all efforts were made to select the participants working on complex projects with complex products falling under the Complex Product Systems (CoPS) category which was the case in the 2nd phase interviews and questionnaire, whereas in the 1st phase practitioners with industrial experience and also involved and/or in the process of getting academic qualification in project management were preferred. The first phase helped in establishing the theoretical and pragmatic perspective and the 2nd phase in refining and validating the findings. The questions were inline with the research focus mentioned earlier.The main findings of the research show that the perception of project complexity and its contributing factors were very much influenced by the project context, i.e. from organization level to work discipline level. No difference in the practitioners' perception of project complexity and its contributing factors was observed among the practitioners based in a similar organization and project setting. Novelty was found to be one of the key project complexity characteristics related to three project elements-people, product and process. In terms of key project management practices and skills considered important in managing project complexity, soft skills were reported useful by majority of the participants. The key processes found useful were either the ones which focused on people or others which helped to manage changes/deviations in projects. Influence and relationship, delegation, flexibility and trust were the main project critical success factors which emerged out of this research for complex projects.
Supervisor: Gale, Andrew ; Lawlor-Wright, Therese Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Project Complexity ; Project Critical Success Factors ; Hard and Soft skills