Project Management

How to Navigate Project Complexity

<p style=”margin: 0in 0in 10pt;”>What does it mean to have a complex project on your hands? Different organizations are going to define complexity different ways, and deal with it different ways. However, whether complexity to you means multiple stakeholders, ambiguity, or something else entirely, Cyndee Miller of the Project Management Institue has some advice for you: focus on effective communication.

Whatever you’re struggling with, communication with all concerned parties will help. If this means multiple stakeholders, talk to them (yes, all of them!). Don’t send out one mass message for all, but treat them as the individual stakeholders they are, each with their own concerns and needs. You will win a lot more support this way, especially if you also highlight specific benefits for each individual.

Another valuable resource is an engaged project sponsor. When PMI wanted to clean up nuclear waste with their project Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, they partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). The DoE helped PMI do the research they needed, but they also helped communicate the necessary information to the U.S. government, and that made all the difference for getting the project finished ahead of schedule.

If your organization is struggling with complexity issues, don’t let it frustrate you. Embrace it. Communicate it. It may be just what your project needs to finish successfully.

Rachel Ginder

Rachel Ginder was a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success and joined the team in 2013. She also helped with social media and research.

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