From Complexity to Ingenuity

I have learned from the project management course that risk management is the essence of project management, by understanding, analyzing, mitigating, and monitoring project risk the company would reduce the number of surprises and that will leads to project success and increase stakeholder satisfaction. According to PMI’s report Pulse of the Profession in 2013 “Every $1 billion spent on a project, will have $135 million at risk, the trend becomes more troubling for projects with added complexity, which, on average, have budgets nearly twice as large.”

Project manager must identify complexity in a project from the beginning to help control the risk through the life of the project, to make sure his or her team is focused and the project is better governed and managed. Also, he or she would decide if the project is worth the risk and what should be done to manage the risk through the life of the project. According to PMI’s report in February 2014 “From Complexity to Dexterity” the report added seven tips to taming complexity in a project as follows;risk_measurement_400_clr_5483

1. Project and program management culture comes from above.
Having engaged project sponsors is one of the main drivers for project success.

2. Set a clear vision for project outcomes.
Setting specific goals for what the project needs to define how decisions are made, and prevent scope creep from pulling the project of track.

3. Break highly complex projects into manageable pieces.
Determining the elements of complexity early when problems are cheaper to solve.

4. Establish centralized functions for oversight.
Setting guidelines and providing tools between project teams and leadership to ensure they remain aligned.

5. Create a formal governance process and follow it.
Diligently oversight projects by people empowered to make decisions to mitigate issues before they become a major problem.

6. Invest in people.
Developing the expertise of project leaders ensures the organization has a broad pool of leaders ready to manage highly complex projects.

7. Communicate effectively with all stakeholders.
Seeking out different perspectives and ensuring project objectives are widely understood.

The report indicated that the pharmaceutical business is a prime example for complexity when dealing with uncertainty about the future of creating new drug to market. “We are trying to predict what’s going to happen 10 years from now with respect to multi million euro rug development projects.Research wants to develop a new drug, commercial wants something to sell, and customers and stakeholders want a product proven safe and effective.” says Ken Jones, President and CEO of Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. As organizations have little choice to deal with indexcomplexity, but such project management strictness helps Mr. Jones’ team better control the risks and determine which projects should be fast-tracked, slowed down or killed.

Which one of the tips do you find most important to taming complexity in a project and can you think of any additional tips to add to this list?



“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” _ Theodore Roosevelt,

Preparing a blog post for the class was not an easy task to start with, as I am trying to write on something interesting and to reflect on it from my experience. I decided first to post about profitability and project management in the work place as profit is the major source for opening and operating any business. However, I changed my mind when I came across an article about “Being Ethical is profitable” as I heard from various resources that some managers always use short cuts to add more profits to their business regardless if it is ethical or not but when you read this article it would open a discussion about this issue.

Unethical behavior can be extremely profitable in the short run, but a business is supposed to create long term-customers and shareholders and these scams will not last for long as being ethical matters not just to your customers but to your employees and the team that work on any project. Project manager should work hard to be ethical as it is important for every project to fulfill its social responsibilities and welfare commitments. As an ethical project manager you would follow what is right for society, customers, and stakeholders, while keeping the organization’s long-term vision in mind. In addition, being ethical in projects pays future dividends as the team members feel very safe to share their thoughts and making innovation with no worries.

Why Being Ethical Matters:

The goal of any company is to generate revenue for the shareholders, creditors, employees, and society. Also, the responsibility of a business or project is to remain profitable. “Project managers should not resort to shortcuts and unethical means in order to generate profits because that will be disastrous for the project, client, and the organization in the long run” The author indicated that “Studies show that people are willing to pay a premium for an ethical company’s products and that ethical organizations have continued to survive and grow”

According to Deloitte’s fourth annual Millennial Survey, which includes 7,800 of tomorrow’s leaders from 29 countries, the value of strong business ethics is increasing. This stresses the fact that today’s young workforce also prefers to join ethical organizations that they can trust for their future growth.

I never worked in any unethical companies before but I could see it happened to big companies not only in the US but also abroad. Look at what happened to Enron scandal that the top project managers were stealing money and committed fraud that the economist and historian of the country will be writing about this scandal for years to come.

  • Does being Ethical pay?
  • Have you experienced something similar in your work place? What action have you taken and what advice would you like to share with unethical project manager?