Review of the Complex Project Manager Competency Standards

Play an active role in the review and development of Competency Standards for Complex Project Managers.

“Complex Project Management is defined as the lifecycle delivery of emergent strategic outcomes through projects which are usually adaptive system of systems; have high uncertainty in scope definition; are distributed; have ongoing environmental and internal turbulence; are implemented through wave planning; and are unable to be decomposed to elements with clearly defined boundaries.

Complex Project Management not only delivers organisations the capability to project manage highly complex projects in pluralist environments, but just as importantly, it delivers a strategic capability to organisations and governments in the management of their ongoing businesses. These Complex Project Manager Competency Standards lay the foundation for project management to effectively deal with complex projects, and in doing so, to add real value to our world. They recognise that complex projects require additional competencies to those required for traditional projects. In particular, these Standards provide a framework that can be used not only to develop the full potential of emerging project managers, but also to provide a higher level of competence to which existing project managers can aspire.1

ICCPM collaborated with the Global Alliance for the Project Professions (GAPPS) to review the Complex Project Manager Competency Standards of which ICCPM is the proud sole custodian. These standards are available to project/program mangers worldwide, outlining the competencies, paradigms (mindset), behaviour, knowledge and special attributes project managers need to operate effectively within the complex project environment.

The review process involved public consultations with project professionals, Senior Industry Executives and Academics, with ultimate outcome of the review to produce a refreshed version of the standards which can be dispersed and applied across industries, and built into the career development of professionals.

Participants of the Review were asked to consider the following questions:

Concerning the Complex Project Manager
Competency Standards:
  • What should go?
  • What should be kept?
  • What should be added?
  • What are the key competencies required when leading complex projects?
  • Can you manage complex projects or do they instead require leadership?

Progress Report: October 2018

View PDF
More on the progress (GAPPS)


  • Sydney – February 2018

  • Vienna – February 2018

  • Delft – June 2018

  • Canberra – October 2018

  • Sydney – November 2018

  • Bali – November 2018

  • Hungary – March 2019

  • Sydney – May 2019

  • Online – May 2019

  • UK – June 2019

  • Canberra – July 2019

  • Mexico – September 2019

GAPPS, The Global Alliance for the Project Professions, has for nearly 20 years been the gateway to the world of project management, writing performance based standards for project delivery and mapping various project standards for associations and governments. To find out more about GAPPS click here.


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