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How hard can it be - Complexity - Harvey Maylor

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How hard can it be - Complexity - Harvey Maylor

  1. 1. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited How hard can it be? Actively managing complexity Dr Harvey Maylor
  2. 2. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited
  3. 3. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Clients
  4. 4. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Overview • Introduction – ‘complexity’ and crisis • What makes projects complex to manage? • How can we actively manage complexities? • How can we respond to complexities? • So what and what now?
  5. 5. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited
  6. 6. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Journey in complexity • Late 1990s – complexity a good thing, complexity science, analogy. • Up to 2006 – CCPM, more standards. • 2006 on – what is complexity in projects and how do you manage complexity?
  7. 7. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited The complexity crisis Time Complexity / Capability Complexity Capability
  8. 8. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited
  9. 9. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Identify managerial complexities Actively manage complexities Working framework Complexity assessment tool Resolve, reduce, run with Determine managerial response Processes, people, paradoxes
  10. 10. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Project complexity • Language: an analogy – not based in complexity science but in systems theory. • Subjective not objective • Like quality – it is hard to quantify and is something that is experienced. • Depends on individual attitude, experience, role, responsibility and perceived ability to influence. • Complexity art, not science.
  11. 11. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited What makes projects complex to manage?  Extensive work on understanding what ‘complexity’ means in the project/ programme context.  Can be summarised into 3 key dimensions: Structural complexities Socio-political complexities Emergent complexities
  12. 12. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Complexities • Structural complexity: − Number, size, financial scale, interdependencies, variety, pace, technology, breadth of scope, number of specialities, multiple locations/time-zones. • Socio-political complexity: − People, politics, stakeholder / sponsor commitment, resistance, shared understanding, fit, hidden agendas, conflicting priorities, transparency. • Emergent complexity: − Technological and commercial maturity and novelty, clarity of vision / goals, clear success criteria / benefits, previous experience, availability of information, unidentified stakeholders.
  13. 13. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Determining the complexities Complexity Statement Agree? Stable? The vision and benefits from this work can be clearly articulated. Y Y The technology is familiar to us. N Y A schedule and resource plan can be clearly defined. N N The pace is achievable. N Y Sufficient people with the right skills are available. N N Work will be carried out in a single country / time- zone / language / currency Y N Structural Complexities (21) Note: Not a numerical score
  14. 14. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Representing complexities Low Medium High Structural Complexity Socio-Political Complexity Emergent Complexity Key Project 1 Project 2
  15. 15. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Managing complexities  How to respond to the project / programme management complexities we face?  How many of these are self-inflicted?  Three ways of addressing each: Resolve – make it go away Reduce – make less severe Run with it – work out response
  16. 16. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Responding to complexities: process 16  For ‘less-complex’ work, ‘standard’ responses are adequate (planning, resourcing etc.)  To deal with project complexities, a more tailored and thoughtful approach is required.
  17. 17. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Responding to complexities  Structural complexity   planning and control response.  Socio-political complexity   relational response.  Emergent complexity   risk / change / flexibility response. Is this the whole picture?
  18. 18. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Responding to complexities
  19. 19. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Responding to complexitiesComplexity response more than this area?
  20. 20. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Responding to complexities: people The MLE approach Leader: relationship-builder • Understanding the complexities can be used to choose the right person to run a project - do you need a manager, leader or entrepreneur? Entrepreneur: adaptive, flexible  Help in selecting the right manager for the task, based on:  Skills, previous experience, or  Development needs. S E S-P Manager: deconstruct and solve
  21. 21. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting LimitedResponding to complexities: people We asked a group of 246 PMs these questions “In your work, which of the 3 complexities is the most difficult to manage?” “In your own formal training and development, which of the 3 complexities has received the most attention?”
  22. 22. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Identify managerial complexities Actively manage complexities Summary Complexity assessment tool Resolve, reduce, run with Determine managerial response Processes, people, paradoxes
  23. 23. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited …and finally Complexity crisis – what crisis? • Sir Richard: Standard Foreign Office response in a time of crisis. In Stage One we say that nothing is going to happen. • Sir Humphrey: Stage Two, we say something may be going to happen but we should do nothing about it. • Sir Richard: Stage Three, we say that maybe we should do something about it, but there's nothing we can do. • Sir Humphrey: Stage Four, we say maybe there is something we could have done, but it's too late now. 23
  24. 24. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited
  25. 25. PMPC Project Management Publishing & Consulting Limited Any further questions: • harvey@pmpc.co.uk

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