Complex Project Manager
Competency Standards

Update: ICCPM is undertaking this review initiative with the Global Alliance for the Project Professions (GAPPS). If you would like to find out more about this process and how you can be involved, please visit the Review page.

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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.

Read the Standards

The Complex Project Manager Competency Standards have been developed to outline and define the project management paradigm (mindset), behaviours and knowledge as well as the special attributes required to operate effectively within the complex project environment. The standards as presented here provide a high level view of each competency, elements that contribute to each competency, the underpinning knowledge and detailed actions that must be demonstrated in order to be determined to be a competent complex project manager.

In order to ensure that the standards keep pace with the ever changing environment the Australian Department of Defence will ensure they are reviewed, updated and presented to relevant stakeholders on a periodic basis.

Ownership of the standards is formally vested in ICCPM.

Note: While ICCPM is the custodian of the CPM Competency Standards, their intellectual property is owned by The Australian Department of Defence.