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And then came Complex Project Management

By S. J. Whitty and Harvey Maylor


The subject of management is renowned for its addiction to fads and fashions. Project Management is no exception. The issue of interest for this paper is the establishment of standards in the area, specifically the ‘College of Complex Project Managers’ and their ‘competency standard for complex project managers’. Both the college and the standard have generated significant interest in the Project Management community. Whilst the need for development of the means to manage complex projects is acknowledged, a critical evaluation show significant flaws in the definition of complex in this case, the process by which the College and its standard have emerged, and the content of the standard. If Project Management is to continue to develop as a profession, it will need an evidence-based approach to the generation of knowledge and standards. The issues raised by the evaluation provide the case for a portfolio of research that extends the existing bodies of knowledge into large-scale complicated (or major) projects. We propose that it would be owned by the practitioner community, rather than focused on one organization. Research questions are proposed that would commence this stream of activity towards an intelligent synthesis of what is required to manage in both complicated and truly complex environments. This is a revised paper previously presented at the 21st IPMA World Congress on Project Management Cracow

Topics: Complex project management, Competency standards, Major projects
Publisher: Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam.
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ijproman.2008.03.004
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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