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Title: The complexity of projects : an adaptive model to incorporate complexity dimensions into the cost estimation process
Author: Herszon, Leon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 4935
Awarding Body: University of Huddersfield
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 2017
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Most projects fail to deliver the required product, on time, or within the budget; and complex projects have additional challenges due to the impact of complexity factors, henceforth called dimensions. Cost overruns are common occurrences with projects, especially on complex ones, which points to a better understanding of the cost-estimation process. Accordingly, it is important to identify the factors affecting the project complexities and their impact on costestimation process. Although project complexities and cost-estimation practices have been discussed in literature, there is a clear gap in the existing body of knowledge regarding how complexity dimensions are linked with cost estimation of project-based industries and how to give due consideration to such complexity dimensions in cost estimation practices. The dynamic nature of complexity calls for a model that considers these dimensions and supports practitioners in the cost estimation process, including guidelines to deal with such complexities. This research aims to develop a model that incorporates complexity dimensions into the costestimation process for complex projects. For that to happen, there is a need to explore the concept of complexity, the dimensions of complexity, and in what context these should be considered in the cost-estimation process. An investigation of how these complexity dimensions impact the cost-estimation process precedes the development of the proposed model. Philosophically this research is positioned in the middle of the ontological, epistemological, and axiological spectra leaning towards idealism, interpretivism, and subjectivism respectively. Considering the use of survey and case studies as research strategies, the research mode is better positioned as inductive with the research choice based on a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative analysis. Empirical data has been collected from a database of complex projects through documentary analysis, and from a survey and interviews that have been used to develop and enhance the proposed model. An analysis of the existing literature on project complexity, along with a documentary analysis of 27 complex projects in a database, provided a list of 23 dimensions that are relevant to project complexity. Based on this list, a survey of 54 practitioners was conducted to gather expert views about the complexity dimensions and their impact on project cost estimation. The 23 dimensions were then prioritized using the Relative Importance Index, which revealed that different industries have distinct views on some dimensions and aligned on others. The survey was followed by a series of 10 in-depth interviews with subject experts. A final analysis of the survey and interviews results helped to eliminate dimensions, reducing the list of complexity dimensions to 15. Once the list of 15 dimensions was established, the model was drafted and divided into an assessment table where practitioners would assess each dimension on a scale of 1 to 4, the mapping of these results on a radar graph for better visualization, and a list of guidelines for cost estimators on how to deal with these complexities. The contribution to knowledge and society will be that such model could support practitioners on creating awareness for complexity dimensions, which would generate more accurate and reliable cost estimates for complex projects.
Supervisor: Keraminiyage, Kaushal Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NA Architecture