Complex project management has evolved over time as a result of the identification and recognition of issues exhibiting complex characteristics that traditional project management methodologies have not had the capability to adequately address. Complex projects are undertakings for which traditional methods, practices and processes are inadequate in terms of scale, rate of change, heterogeneity, multiple pathways and ambiguous objectives. The complex project management function assesses and comprehends project context, criticality, collaboration, convergence and confluence at various points along the project life cycle. To enable the best possible prospect for success complex project managers require additional skills, knowledge and experiences in order to operate effectively in complex environments.
The intrinsic complexity of projects, in part, is driven by political, social, technological and environmental issues, as well as tight fiscal pressures, end user expectations which may change dramatically during the life of a project, and governmental instability. Advances in knowledge and capability have raced ahead of social and political change with only the most agile and adaptable organisations able to absorb the impact of this new reality. The willingness and ability of project managers to update their skills and knowledge to keep pace with the changes in managing complexity and complex projects is imperative to the successful delivery of projects in the future. Organisations must also commit to the transition from traditional project management to complex project management by providing the opportunity and support for project managers to obtain the required skills, knowledge and experience to move to the next level.