Papers - Complex Project Management & Mega Projects

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Complex Project Management & Mega Projects Topics:

 - Complex Project Management

 - Mega Projects

 - Systems Engineering




Complex Project Management


Identifying and Responding to Complexity in Major Projects and Programs. 2023, Colin Smith

This presentation uses real examples to explore what makes a project, program or portfolio complex, and the implications for their delivery. It provides an update on ICCPM's review of the Project Categorisation Framework (PCAT) and the upcoming release of the new Complex Project Leadership Competency Standards, and present examples of their application. Demonstrating the difference between Simple, Complicated, Complex and Chaotic project contexts and the implications for project delivery, and the importance of the skills and knowledge outlined in the Complex Project Leadership Standards. 
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Harnessing Emergence in Complex Projects: Rethinking Risk, Opportunity & Resilience. 2023, Dr. John Bensley.

The findings from the 2020-21 ICCPM International Roundtable Series and the implications for the delivery of major projects. It presents the frameworks, models and lessons that enable us to explore the nature and impact of emergence for major projects and manage the capabilities and competencies needed to harness emergence in practice. Describing how your worldview and mental paradigms shape how we see, understand and deal with emergence in complex projects, the practical capabilities and competencies major project leaders need to harness emergence, and how our view of complexity informs our approach to emergence and risk in major projects.

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Governance and Controls in Complex Projects. 2023, Dr Nam Nguyen.

This session explores the potential sources of complexity in major projects and programs and how governance and controls need to be approached differently. It uses practical examples to explore different approaches and their impact, including:

• Understanding the potential sources of complexity in major projects.

• Appreciating the importance of approaching governance and controls of complex projects differently.

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Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome – Supporting the success of modern projects. 2022 Keynote, Naomi Mathers. 

Through her experience, and her time as Director, Industry Liaison and Member Services at the International Centre for Complex Project Management, Naomi understands the importance of experienced project leaders skilled in responding to complexity in a way that ensures project success. Naomi will use the announcement that Australia is to build 4 satellites to explore some of the challenges faced by modern projects and explore how these projects can be a catalyst for change on many levels.

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Why a complexity-based view of project delivery is becoming even more important. 2022 Webinar, Naomi Mathers. 

Delivering projects in an environment exhibiting volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) characteristics requires special treatment using tools and methods designed for use in these types of environments. However, many conventional project management methods, methodologies, frameworks, and bodies of knowledge used today are based on a linear and deterministic (controllable and predictable) world view. That is not to say that these don't have their place, indeed conventional project management methodologies and tools are foundational and necessary, however, they are insufficient when dealing with project complexity. This presentation will explore why a complexity-based view of project delivery is important, and why this must include more than just project, program and portfolio managers.

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Governance in Complex Projects. 2022, Rob McMartin. 

Projects have evolved to include a variety of different types in a multi-dimensional matrix including: - Simple to complex - Small to large - Traditional to agile. As these new project types have emerged and increased in difficulty, complexity and value, it has become obvious that the current systems, processes and governance requirements are now no longer suitable. This presentation looks at the differences in the new evolved projects, as well as techniques for managing, controlling and governing these projects. We will look at the definitions of the project types and governance and personal attributes required for delivery of the new types of projects.

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Complex Project Management Governance. 2022 Webinar, Rob McMartin

There has been an evolution occurring in projects and where once projects were difficult, but simple. They have now evolved to include a variety of different types of projects.
As these new project types have emerged and increased in difficulty, complexity and value, it has become obvious that the current systems, processes and governance requirements are now no longer suitable.

This presentation looks at the differences in the new evolved projects, as well as techniques for managing, controlling and governing these projects. We will look at the definitions of the project types and governance and personal attributes required for delivery of the new types of projects.

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A Fresh Look at What Makes Projects Complex and How to Deal With It,   2017,   Prof. Charles B. (Chuck) Keating.

This presentation focuses on complex system governance. His research has looked at what makes projects complex. He uses this to propose a fresh structure and process to appropriately govern complexity - one that is not reliant on either a purely system engineering approach (e.g. increased modelling & simulation) or exclusively on project management approaches (e.g. P30).  
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Contracting for Success in Complex Projects,  2017, Colin Smith.

This presentation covers the 10 years since the inception of ICCPM, and improvements in the delivery of complex projects. However, the role of contracts has been identified as contributing to the challenges of successfully delivering complex endeavours. Findings from a series of 'roundtable discussions' between ICCPM and IACCM members suggest how improvements could be identified and barriers overcome in order to achieve further gains in delivery performance.    
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The Challenges of and Potential Solutions to Scope Definition Issues on Complex Projects,  2016, Andrew Pyke. 

This presentation explores some of the vexing problems in defining scope on complex projects, including the Richardson Effect, which found in measuring coastlines that the smaller the ruler, the longer the resulting coastline. As we try to bound project scope in more and more detail, could we be victims of the Richardson Effect, increasing the effort and schedule without limit?

The presentation will explore the possibility that there may be many different answers to a project scope boundary and how we can extract projects from the problems created by issues of scope definition.  
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An Overview of Complex Project Management and ICCPM Initiatives and Research,  2015,  Ms. Deb Hein.

An overview of complex project management, why it is different to regular project management and what this means for the manager responsible for delivering outcomes.  An overview of ICCPM initiatives and research activities is also covered. Download the presentation


The management of projects in a complex environment,   2014,   Stephen Hayes.

The need for research and the work of the ICCPM.  
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Mega Projects

The New Gotthard Base Tunnel: Full Life Cycle Management and Maintenance of Major Infrastructure

The New Gotthard Base Tunnel case study explores the complexity of the project and strategies that have been implemented. It will explore how SBB balance maintenance and operational demands of major infrastructure and the lived experience of lifecycle management and maintenance on a major project. How the New Gotthard Base Tunnel project works with multiple stakeholders with different requirements to deliver workable solutions, and that complex infrastructure projects require a reinvestment of several times the initial project cost during their life cycle.

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Managing wicked program delivery.  2023, Alex Walsh.

The UK nuclear program started at Sellafield in the 1940s. The site has been the host of the first plutonium production reactors for the weapons program (the Windscale Piles), fuel re-processing facilities for the UK nuclear program, the first nuclear power station to generate electricity (Calder Hall), the prototype Advanced Gas Reactor and numerous facilities for the storage and treatment of nuclear materials. In the early days of the nuclear program, the UK national imperative was defence and decisions were made with little thought given to the long-term solution for the decommissioning, remediation or disposal of wastes generated. One of the Windscale piles suffered a significant nuclear accident in 1957 and the damaged core remains in place. Many of these facilities are now old and do not meet modern standards. The wastes in some of these facilities have not been characterised and can only be accessed remotely. The site is congested and interconnected. All of this makes Sellafield, one of the most complex high hazard facilities in the world. The program to deal with this legacy at Sellafield is projected to take over 100 years. The technologies to deal with some of the problems are not mature. This presentation creates an awareness of;
- An approach to delivering outcomes in extremely complex environment.
- How decision, calendars, assumption and risk can help prioritise research and development and studies in time to specify projects.
- Reference class forecasting as a tool in decision-making for initiating the right project.
- Importance of collaborating with industry during all stages of the project life cycle, including studies and concept design
- The imperative to break complex problems down into simple project scopes. Complexity increases, uncertainty and risk.

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The Game Changer in Large Scale Complex Projects, 2019, Colin Smith.

Complex projects need leaders with different skills. The 2018 International Centre for Complex Project Management (ICCPM) International Roundtable Series brought together senior practitioners and leading academics to explore Project Leadership: The Game Changer in Large Scale Complex Projects.
The outcomes report from this thought leadership initiative was launch on the 13 June 2019. It includes insights which help organisations stay at the forefront of successful complex project delivery. ICCPM CEO, Collin Smith will present the key insights from this report.
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Designing for Project Success - The Power of Many and the Undoing by Multitudes, 2019, Professor Kerry London. 

Much of the research in relation to major capital acquisition projects or mega projects in recent years has tended to focus on the theme that we have such massive time and cost overruns because we don't spend enough time in the beginning of a project to develop realistic planning schedules and realistic budgets. Realisation of this in Australia has resulted in the development of targeted approaches to the pre-planning budgeting. What is the next step then in designing for project success?
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The Challenges of Big Infrastructure, 2018, Damon Hancock.

Personal insights and reflections on why so many major projects fail to achieve their core objectives of: on time delivery, within agreed budget, and meeting their stated purpose - at least initially so. Lessons and pitfalls!
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Systems Engineering

2022: Systems Thinking in Planning for Project Success. Edmund Chew. 

Over the last six years, Rail Projects Victoria (RPV) has been planning and delivering the State's largest investments in rail infrastructure. With 40 projects and packages of work worth more than $35 billion in the pipeline, many valuable lessons have been learnt. In this talk Edmund will share insights how the organization has changed their planning approach to enable successful delivery of its projects. This will include using the Metro Tunnel Project as case study and the client's role in taking a systems thinking and approach to planning.

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2020 Webinar: A Practical Guide to implementing Complex Systems Governance Concepts on Projects. Prof. Charles B. (Chuck) Keating.

The purpose of this presentation is to provide a hands-on experience for Project Management (PM) professionals for application of Complex System Governance (CSG) concepts. CSG is a new and novel approach to improve performance through purposeful design, execution, and evolution of essential system functions. These functions sustain project performance in the midst of external turbulence and internal flux. CSG addresses the 'messes' and 'wicked problems' that are the by-product of modern projects and continue to overwhelm PM practitioners. Application of CSG for PM is examined to:
(1) appreciate and map the complex environment faced by modern PM,
(2) discover sources of 'deep system' project failure modes that ultimately produce schedule delays, cost overruns, and missed performance targets,
(3) explore the 'systems' basis for those failure modes, and
(4) develop responsive and feasible systems-based strategies to preclude failure modes in the design, execution, and development of complex projects.

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Integrating Systems Engineering and Program Performance Management creates a Match Made in Heaven, 2019, Glen Alleman. 

Project (and program) management supported by project planning and control has overall responsibility for project delivery in accordance within the parameters of cost (budget), schedule (time) and a technically compliant "fit for purpose" solution.

Systems Engineering is responsible to project management for the specification, design, build and implementation of the technically compliant "fit for purpose" solution. SE use Measures of Effectiveness (MoE) and Measures of Performance (MoP) and their Technical Performance Measures (TPM) and Key Performance Parameters (KPP) for each end item deliverable to measure what "done" looks like. Each measure provides steering targets for the project work and the baseline for feedback needed to make corrective and preventive actions to keep the project moving toward to goals.
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Integrating Systems Engineering (SE) and Program Performance Management (PPM) to Increase the Probability of Delivering the Needed Capabilities for Project/Program Success, 2019, Glen Alleman.  

This presentation examines the Systems Engineering (SE) management processes and Program Performance Management (PPM) processes both of which are required for project/program success. The intersections between the two process groups are reviewed highlighting the SE contributions to PPM and the benefits to both SE management and PPM of the SE inputs to PPM in contributing to overall project/program success.
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Integrating Systems Engineering and Project Management. The Match Made in Heaven Which Increases the Probability of Project Success, 2019, Glen Alleman. 

The 5 immutable principles that must be addressed to achieve project success.
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Complex Systems Governance: A New Approach for Addressing the 'Messes' and 'Wicked Problems' that are By-product of Modern Projects Which Overwhelm PM Practitioners,   2019,   Prof. Charles B. (Chuck) Keating.

Complex System Governance is an advanced systems approach that offers project practitioners new and novel insights to improve complex project performance, including:
1. Identification of 'deep system' failure modes for projects beyond traditional cost, schedule, and performance deficiencies
2. Examination of systems based failures in design, execution, or development of critical system functions for projects,
3. Development of systems-based strategies to 'design out' system failures throughout the project life cycle.
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Responding to Complex Systems Challenges for Project Management,   2019,   Prof. Charles B. (Chuck) Keating.

Managing complex projects is quite possibly the most difficult profession devised by man. Dealing with increasing complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity while trying to maintain consistency in budget, schedule, and performance can challenge the most seasoned project and systems engineering manager. This presentation will examine several contemporary challenges facing project and systems engineering managers from a 'systems' perspective.
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A Practical Guide to Implementing Complex Systems Governance Concepts on Projects,   2019,   Prof. Charles B. (Chuck) Keating.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide a hands-on experience for Project Management (PM) professionals for application of Complex System Governance (CSG) concepts. CSG is a new and novel approach to improve performance through purposeful design, execution, and evolution of essential system functions. These functions sustain project performance in the midst of external turbulence and internal flux. CSG addresses the 'messes' and 'wicked problems' that are the by-product of modern projects and continue to overwhelm PM practitioners. 
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Solving Tensions of Overlapping Project Management and Systems Engineering with the Elegance of the Complex Systems Governance Approach, 2019, Keith Joiner and Dr Rani Yesudas

The Complex System Governance (CSG) model foundationally fuses these disciplines in new governance meta-functions. Further the associated pathological approach developed for CSG implementation provides a path of least resistance and thus greatest parsimony for such change management. In this presentation we overview research illustrating the CSG underpinnings with the concepts of parsimony, requisite saliency, minimum critical specification, power law, and requisite hierarchy; thereby providing more elegant organizational approaches to complex program management and systems engineering than re-integration overlays.
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A Modelling Approach for Integration of Systems Engineering and Program Management, 2019, Mahmoud Efatmaneshnik 

Defence systems acquisition is fraught with all sorts of financial, technical and political risks. The most effective way of mitigating risks associated with acquisition of complex systems is through identification of these risks as early as concept examination phase. One possible avenue to de-risk complex acquisition projects is through the integration of program management and systems engineering views. In General terms, project/program management is concerned with timely and on the budget execution of projects where as Systems Engineering is concerned with complexity management and successful systems integration. This paper will outline an approach for risk and complexity evaluation and mitigation of capability concepts to be used, in risk mitigation planning, systems engineering planning and project control activities.
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Engineering Failures and Lack of Recognition of Complex Systems Parameters, 2019, Professor Vernon Ireland. 

A group of engineering projects are examined, all o which failed in a disastrous way, leading to deaths, or failed in spectacularly exceeding the proposed budget. The projects include two NASA projects which had deaths, The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant, BP's Deepwater oil platform in the Mexican Gulf and the Boston Big Dig project. All projects have been shown to have neglected to recognise a group of complex systems parameters, which, if recognised, would have led to avoiding the project failure. The complex systems parameters are examined, some of which are not recognising: Complex rather than complicated; Requisite Variety; Dynamic systems; Beer's Viable Systems Model; We don't know what we don't know; Cascading risk; Systemic risks; Mindfulness; Not dumbing down including reluctance to simplify; Preoccupation with Failure; Normalising deviance; Causal loops; Reference class Forecasting; Generate open communications, clear boundaries and a strong value system.
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Bring Organisational Agility through Improved Alignment to deliver Greater Capability and Value in Large and Complex Organisations, 2019, James Bawtree.

This presentation explores how a hybrid of global best practice standards such as AgileSHIFT, MSP, PRINCE Agile and P3O should be leveraged along with techniques such as Design Thinking, Earned Value and systems of system thinking to enhance transition and operations management improving adoption rates and the time it takes for new resources to come up to speed. We will also run through how all these new practices should be reinforced by using a standard set of fit for purpose tools, resulting in improved transparency, accuracy and ultimately trust, in the decision making information, by organisational leaders.
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Design Structure Matrix based Modular Analysis and its Applications, 2019, Li Qiao 

Modular analysis is a mean to manage complexity in system design processes in order to achieve competitive advantage. It identifies highly interactive groups of components and/or functions which can potentially form good modules. Among various modular analysis approaches, Design Structure Matrix (DSM) method has proved to be an efficient matrix-based modelling and modularity analysis approach. It is a highly flexible, network modelling method with extensive applications in engineering management and many other fields. 
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