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In this issue: The ICCPM Story: 2011 - 2014 A reflection on interdisciplinary obstacles in PM Overcoming the Misery of Mega-Projects Sponsorship for Complex Projects Virtual Team Communications It’s all about the relationships! Edge of Chaos Part II Everything Agile



STAFF Deborah Hein Managing Director & CEO Collin Smith Deputy CEO Diane Hope Business Manager Anna Tasker Training Coordinator Ian Biggs Certification Project Manager ICCPM BOARD Harry Bradford, Chair Simon Henley Julie Dunlap Mary McKinlay Deborah Hein Alicia Aitken Ian Mack Phil Crosby Tim Banfield International Centre for Complex Project Management Ltd (ICCPM) PO Box 327 Deakin West ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA Level 2, Equinox 3 70 Kent Street Deakin ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA +61 2 6120 5110 Twitter: @iccpm LinkedIn Company Page

The views expressed by contributors to this magazine are solely their own and ICCPM accepts no responsibility or liability for these views.

© ICCPM 2017


Another busy three months between editions. Early this month we celebrated our 10 year anniversary and what a way to celebrate, we got busier and busier and in my humble opinion that means we must be doing something right. I am very proud to be reporting that we have an ever growing list of graduates from our Certificate IV program who are now well equipped to recognise complexity in their environments and have tools and techniques to help them deal with it, congratulations to all who now have their certificates, well done.

am continually grateful to the individuals who take the time to contribute to the ever growing body of knowledge with the sole aim of helping others to learn and grow. Once again thank you for your contributions.

On the staffing front, we bid farewell to Dr Erin Evans and wish her well and continued success in everything she does. Don’t despair though Erin will continue to remain accessible to us and will always be a great contributor to the network. We also welcome Anna Tasker. Anna has joined us as our new Training Co-ordinator. Anna will take on the responsibility of co-ordinating all of our course In this edition we continue deliveries and admin. the ICCPM Story with Part 3 covering 2011 – 2014, As always we value your some interesting things to feedback, let us know if there remember and reflect on from is something you would like us those years. We also have the to cover, and more importantly concluding part of the Edge if there is something you would of Chaos article from Warren like to contribute. Black as well as quite a number of first time contributors and Deb Hein, CEO some from friends who haven’t contributed for a while. I Some more fantastic news is that we were announced as a finalist in the ACT Chief Ministers Export Awards in two categories, Education and Training and Emerging Exporter. These awards are to recognise local Canberra businesses for their efforts and successes in promoting Canberra and the ACT to the world.




ACT Chief Ministers Export Awards


Research Update


ICCPM Staff Changes


Global Research Survey




Overcoming the Misery of Mega Projects 6 Sponsorship for Complex Projects


Education Update


Training Calendar


It’s all about the relationships



Everything Agile


Member Profile: Steve Grey


Fellow Profile: Deborah Feakins


Interdisciplinary Obstacles in Project Management


Virtual Team Dynamics


Edge of Chaos: Part II


LINKS & EVENTS Food for Thought


Event Calendar




2013 - 2014




NEWS ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards On the 31st August this year, ICCPM was announced as a finalist in the Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Export Awards in the categories of Emerging Exporter and Training and Education. On the 27th September, the winners were announced at a gala dinner held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra. While ICCPM did not win in either of the categories mentioned above, we are extremely proud to have been a finalist in the first year of entering this competition, which is an outstanding achievement in itself.

ICCPM would like to congratulate all category winners • Auraya Systems - Emerging Exporter category • iSimulate - Training and Education category • Aspen Medical - ACT Exporter of the year. ICCPM Managing Director and CEO Deborah Hein said:

Alicia Aitken, Ken Gutterson

The ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards are the Territory’s most prestigious business awards. They acknowledge the innovation, hard work and success of businesses, large and small, in reaching new global markets. The Awards recognise the important contribution that Australian Capital Territory businesses make to the local economy through job creation and increased prosperity in the community. The ACT winners will progress to the 55th Australian Export Awards National Ceremony in December.


“ICCPM has been serving the project management profession and developing specialist services and products centred around organisational and project complexity for 10 years. Our education products include accredited and unaccredited Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses that we deliver as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in Australia and increasingly in other parts of the world as non-accredited courses. Our export growth strategy is well under way and we look forward to a much stronger export market going forward. Being a finalist in the ACT Chief Minister’s Export Awards is a welcome milestone in our export journey” We look forward to participating in the competition again in 2018.


ICCPM Staff Changes Dr Erin Evans In August we farewelled Dr Erin Evans as Director of Research and Development. Erin was with us for over 12 months, in that time she developed an extremely strong relationship with our course participants receiving exceptional feedback on the programs she delivered. She also developed a strong relationship with the International Projects Unit of QUT and worked tirelessly to deliver high value outcomes to the Australia Awards participants from a range of countries including Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Western Samoa, the Maldives, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. These programs have received high acclaim and are a credit to Erin in both the design and development of the programs and the high calibre of the delivery team. It is quite clear that this is where Erin’s passion for teaching is. We wish Erin all the very best with the next chapter in her impressive career, we know that she will continue to work on the important issues facing all of us who work in complex environments, particularly in the project management and change space.

Anna Tasker We are pleased to welcome Anna Tasker to the team in the role of Training Coordinator. Anna has over 10 years of experience working in a range of customer service roles including managing multiple retail stores, administration, scheduling and training teams at Austral Bricks and St John Ambulance ACT. Anna has a passion for helping people and is a perfectionist giving 100% dedication to any task she undertakes. Anna enjoys riding her motorcycle and has played the piano since she was seven. She also loves animals of all shapes and sizes and plans on becoming a ‘crazy dog lady’ when she retires to the family farm.



ARTICLES Overcoming the Misery of Mega-Projects

Vip Vyas and Diego Nannicini The “people aspect” of projects is more important that ever before On 20 April 2010, an explosion took place in the Gulf of Mexico that forever altered the lives of many. The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig catastrophe was a night of unprecedented horror, with 11 crew members killed and 17 seriously injured. It is considered the worst ecological disaster the USA has ever experienced. Images of the flotilla of boats battling to contain the raging inferno were beamed across the world, and the whole incident cost then-CEO Tony Hayward his job.

Traditional project management approaches seem to come up short when dealing with the complex human dynamics that are at play on large, complex undertakings. In many cases, the topic of “project behaviours” is addressed only at a superficial level.

Accidents of this scale are not new in the extractives industry. The disasters of Texas City, Exxon Valdez, Piper Alpha and a host of others still linger in our memories.

From our experience, the link between people and projects is robust. Simply put: • When the project leadership is not aligned, the project will be misaligned.

The human dimension of projects

• When the planning lacks clarity, delivery becomes chaotic.

While the magnitude of these disasters grabs media attention, what is not so regularly reported is the sheer scale of the (more modest) project failures experienced by corporations every day. Moreover, the triple whammy of over-budget, poor quality and late delivery spans the entire spectrum of industries. This is despite considerable investment having taken place in developing project governance & management, benchmarking, scenario planning, work flow visualisation, risk identification and performance reviews. In their conclusion, the Deepwater Horizon Study Group highlighted organisational attitude and decision making as key contributing factors to the disaster:

... these failures (to contain, control, mitigate, plan, and clean-up) appear to be deeply rooted in a multi-decade history of organizational malfunction and short-sightedness


• When the delivery team lacks ambition, the project lacks performance. • When the project proponents lack trust, the project becomes contractual. • When people are afraid to speak up, the project becomes risky. This dynamic totally changes when those driving the project commit to altering the prevalent mindset and correlated behaviours. From our experience of mega-projects, it’s in these moments that the entire project shifts gears and moves to a new level of performance.

Implications for energy & other industries In today’s low-price environment, gone are the days when high barrel margins could comfortably absorb delivery inefficiencies. With industry-wide cost reduction and downsizing, the world of the project director can be summed up as “deliver more with less”. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

The big question is, “How does the delivery team do this?” Reduction of resources does not necessarily translate into higher efficiency or improved performance.

Increasing investment reliability Based on our experience of advising, consulting, analysing and troubleshooting distressed projects, the following performance considerations need to be effectively addressed, in order to provide investors with greater reassurance: 1. To what degree do the project stakeholders and project delivery team understand and show alignment on project objectives and key expectations of one another? 2. Is your procurement process “pulling for” low quality, cost cutting and contractual gaming behaviours? 3. Does your planning process drive the project, or is it used only as a reporting tool? 4. How confident are you that the project organisation is demonstrating the leadership required to drive and orchestrate complex dynamics and interfaces? 5. How will your project gain intelligence as it progresses, and thus avoid repeating the same mistakes? 6. What will you do to create a culture of accountability, responsibility and ownership? Beyond this list, another simple but useful question is: “Is your team lit up around successfully delivering the results?”

Projects don’t fail. People do. While many project managers would readily agree with the importance of these questions, they are, in practice, often inadequately addressed, resulting in (sometimes catastrophic) ripple effects. In the case of Deepwater Horizon, two pivotal behaviours were at the genesis of the outcome. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

The first was a combination of arrogance and overconfidence, which resulted in the failure effectively to address the increasing pressure building up in the pipe from the sea floor to the platform. The second was management driving the drilling team to produce results more quickly, whilst ignoring the safety implications of doing so. Addressing these two behavioural attributes of the project culture might well have averted the disaster. In the end, the project failure was really a people failure. Many organisations use projects as vehicles for embedding strategic initiatives and effecting change. If the project is compared to a Gaussian (normal) distribution of activities, behaviours and attitude, then the “tails” of the project landscape can provide important warning signals. With large, complex endeavours, it is imperative that project leaders have some kind of radar for sensing and flagging up these signals.

Fine-tuning the radar Sometimes these signals can be weak. In complex set-ups, involving hundreds of organisations and thousands of activities, they very often get overlooked. Indeed, it is very easy for an overwhelmed, stressed-out executive to disregard their importance and focus on the “big ticket” items. It is in these moments that risks develop and grow, out of sight and out of mind, right up to the moment they cause a catastrophe. As an executive, you can gain considerable insight by the regular discussion (ideally with your peers, superiors and subordinates) of the following question: “In what ways could the intent of the project be undermined, and how might we prevent those events and situations from arising?” Vip Vyas is the CEO of Distinctive Performance. He is a thought partner and advisor to boards and executive teams. He can be contacted at vip.vyas@ Diego Nannicini is an Associate Consultant at Distinctive Performance. He has an MBA from INSEAD (‘14J). This article originally published on INSEAD Knowledge.


ARTICLES Sponsorship for Complex Projects Ian Biggs Ian Biggs is a Certified Practicing Portfolio Executive (CPPE) with 15 years of portfolio/program/project leadership experience driving the delivery of: Large-scale ICT programs, Aviation industry systems, Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting Vehicles, Solar Power Stations, Communications Systems, Defence Infrastructure, and Research & Development initiatives. Ian is highly regarded for building project delivery dexterity in complex environments and has an active interest in the implementation of new and innovative methods to work through project complexity. He is a regular keynote speaker at project management forums often asked to talk about the practical application of complex project management methods. Ian is one of only 70 nationally appointed ‘Fellows’ of AIPM; recognised by his peers for his exceptional and conspicuous service to the Institute and the PM profession. He is also a RegPM Certification Assessor authorised to assess candidates up to and including Certified Practicing Portfolio Executive (CPPE) level.

Let’s be clear. A Sponsor should have the attributes of a ‘Traditional Sponsor’ as these provide a useable baseline by which to build upon, but this baseline is not enough when championing a complex project or a project delivered in a complex environment. So... can we kill the ‘seeds of failure’ often sown by the ridged, controlled and predictable leadership that we have come to expect from traditional sponsorship? In a study involving 1,500 Global CEO’s, the agenda of global business and public sector leaders concluded with three widely shared perspectives:1


1. The world’s private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of ‘complexity’ is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue – indeed, to accelerate – in the coming years. 2. They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment. 3. Finally, they identify ‘creativity’ as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.


Considerations for sponsors in complex organisations or leading complex projects • Embody Creative Leadership - Embrace ambiguity, take risks that disrupt legacy business models and leapfrog beyond “triedand-true” management styles. • Re-invent Customer Relationships - Honor your customers above all else and use two-way communications to sync with customers. • Build Operating Dexterity - Simplify whenever possible and manage systemic complexity. • Set sponsorship at the benefit owner level. This may take many shapes but the intent is to appoint sponsors at a non-executive level. This should allow for greater access by the project team and result in higher levels of involvement by the Sponsor. Balance is key here as too low a level, and the Sponsor’s influence may suffer. • Seek sponsorship training. A Sponsor MUST be able to recognise the parts of a project that fall into the domains of ‘Simple’, ‘Complicated’, ‘Complex’ and ‘Chaos’. They must also understand how to manage or assist in the management of elements within each of these domains. • Be creative in their management of complexity. The Sponsor must be able to recognise and adapt to emerging properties and know what avenues are available to address this emergence. The project manager needs to steer the project accordingly but must be able to rely on their sponsor to open gates or pave the way. • Many projects have failed too late when the signs were there many $$$ ago. Sponsors need to be sufficiently competent to read the signs, consider the situation, know when to let go, when to hold on, when to lead, and when to follow those they lead.2

Within complex environments, many of the beliefs such as, sponsors being able to control outcomes, define and deliver a vision, minimise conflict and using their influencing skills to direct others, are underpinned by a linear rational view of the world. Complexity theorists dispute many of these views. Instead, they argue that organisations are characterised by emergence and non-linearity, where cause and effect are often difficult to connect. Sponsorship in these organisations might need to be different; flexible, responsive, adaptive, inclusive and richly communicative.3 Survival into the future (information age) will not consist of those that worship machines, but those that support human creativity. So, no matter what business you’re in, it’s time to get rid of the constraining control mechanisms and bureaucratic lead weight we have come to know from the outdated industrial age thinking. Instead, encourage creativity in leadership, provide complexity training for your project teams but in particular the Sponsor, and unless you are prepared to spend quality time with the project, consider appointing a sponsor who is closer to the benefits being delivered. Read the full article here References: Capitalising on Complexity – Insights from the Global Chief Executive Study




Nick Obolensky – Leading Complex Projects


Kaye Remington - Leading Complex Projects


ARTICLES It’s all about the relationships! Steve Hein Steve Hein is a senior manager of complex transformations & projects. He has successfully delivered outcomes in complex environments with an emphasis on Strategic Reform, Organisational Transformation, Leadership, and Cultural Engagement. He also has a significant background in project management and reform activities. His focus on soft skills and ‘getting the people side right’ has been a major success factor during his career. This is a bit of a think piece, where I thought I’d open some discussion about relationships, how they might be interpreted in an organisational and project sense and how they afflict success in complex organisations. I’ll purposefully be a little controversial and let’s see what occurs. Many of us have been involved in complex endeavours, from organisational transformations to major programs and projects and hopefully we agree they all require some project management expertise in order to progress. You know what I’m talking about - the usual things like a plan, a schedule, some controls, financial management, quality management and sometimes benefits realisation etc. Yes, we need these things to help manage what is intended to occur to achieve the desired outcome/vision. However, managing what is intended to occur and achieving what is intended to occur are quite different beasts. When asked what I think is the most important factor in achieving success it is a fairly easy response - “It’s all about the relationships!” Now I’m a fan of the ‘soft’ systems as many who know me will attest, but if you think I’m going to go all “touchy feely” and you should stop reading, please don’t - read on. I’m talking of relationships in quite distinct ways. Many might interpret the word relationships to be all about people but the word has many connotations. I’m initially using a broad brush and will talk of how some ‘relationships’ are relatively predictive, how others retain their uncertainty and yet others are amorphous and require understanding and influence to shape their future. All relationships are important so 10 | ICCPM CONNECT

we can holistically pursue, monitor and achieve a desired outcome/vision, but there is one interpretation which I think most will concur is a prime driver and also prime barrier to success and I discuss that near the conclusion.

“Relationship” “association, connection, connexion, affiliation, rapport, bond, liaison, link, correlation” - a broad term In approaching a complex endeavour, most will initially look to define any key relationships between the more obvious ‘mechanistic’ or ‘process related’ elements in their system of systems, such as other projects, products, related initiatives or activity. This enables an understanding of the key mechanistic relationships that are in place or soon to be in place to help achieve success. This process also highlights any gaps and importantly illustrates excess activity that hampers progress and adds a layer of complexity that is not required – and this needs to be addressed (not always popular as it means pet projects and other superfluous activity are identified and there is a discussion required). In most cases it is difficult to get leaders to address this added layer but that is for another time. Ok, the key mechanistic relationships are identified and can now be observed and analysed so that there is an understanding of how they might interact and/or create emergence in our system of systems. As I mentioned before these are what could be called the relatively predictive relationships and most will morph into interdependent activity (like interdependencies BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

in a high-level schedule). This is our first set of relationships and I agree that this is good step, but more oft than not more attention is paid to these relationships than is warranted, to the detriment of achieving success. Plenty of effort goes into detailed schedules, controls and lengthy reports but in my experience, this does not lead to success, it leads to understanding. Yes, we need this understanding but should keep it limited to what is actually required and not let the mechanistic relationships (process) dilute and/or delay the outcome. One a side note there will also be elements in the system of systems that do not yet have a distinct relationship to anything but may have consequence should they be ignored and these need to be monitored as invariably they will eventually influence our system and impact the outcome (identifying these is a skill that comes with experience and wisdom). Once again, how we deal with these is for another time – let’s continue the focus on relationships. The more important requirement is to identify the humans that influence the ‘mechanistic’ relationships, putting the real relationships (human) at a higher level of importance in the hierarchy of our system. Yes, we understand they too form parts of our more holistic adaptive system of systems, but the power or influence a human holds as a part of any system is immense.

Humans, are the most complex of complex adaptive systems. Humans are unpredictable, by nature have differing worldviews and although they might share a vision they will understandably at times have different approaches to achieving things as in their system the image they envision may differ slightly or there will be other aligned objectives or loyalties whether they be personal or organisational that impact their decisions - this is normal. Understanding differing worldviews, accepting different thinking and generating/maintaining strong personal relationships within and beyond an organisation or project is critical. These are the relationships that I mentioned earlier as the prime drivers and also prime barriers to success. Yes, many will say this is obvious, and to be positive there is much progress in this area, but we must continue to keep our foot on the accelerator and progress this shift of thinking (and action) from the mechanistic to the human, and in doing so get the balance correct to better ensure success in complex environments.

How can we do this? There are many things that can be done, and tools that can be used. For instance (and I may be stating the obvious) we should recruit for capability as opposed to qualification, and focus on a balance of leadership or emotional intelligence with the right technical skills. When pursuing a project then setting the initial conditions has an impact on project success as suggested by Remington and Pollack (2007). Complex projects are sensitive to initial conditions as they influence the way a project is defined and the direction it is headed. If initial conditions are set correctly (this includes the project team – people and their relationships) projects gain momentum and thrive, however if initial conditions are incorrect risks can escalate out of control and derail projects. Or, as a last suggestion, if a project is already in operation you could use a complexity diagnostic to identify stakeholder understanding and relationship maturity, this is a powerful way to identify and The layer of human ‘relationships’ that influences remediate relationships to balance the scales decisions in any endeavour is the key to more towards success. success, and I would assert that understanding, influencing and being a part of this human system So, in conclusion “It’s all about the relationships” of systems is the more difficult aspect of being an hey! organisational leader or project leader. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS


ARTICLES Everything Agile Belinda Kelly Belinda Kelly has spent nearly twenty years working in the public service on various projects from different angles, including risk management, contract management, documentation wrangling and overseeing technology upgrades. She has nearly completed a Master of Project Management with UTS, and is the recipient of the ICCPM Project Management prize in 2017.

Everything is Agile these days

tracking the progress of important papers around the management-sphere with their index cards. I work in government, where trends that were We have group stand-ups where we go through big in the corporate world several years ago are our task lists and reflect on what we plan to do hailed as cool, current things. For example, we today, and what road blocks we may encounter. got excited about the idea of hot-desking a few years ago. Now there are dedicated desks set I’m wondering from my position if this is a trend up for visitors, rather than squeezing them into or the sign of a grass-roots change for BAU work. Agile needs dedication to make it work. Not all some random spot on the floor. organisations that commit to Agile can pull it The new trend in government is Agile. IT went off. The feedback from BAU teams is that the through rounds of training. I remember someone visual boards and stand-ups are decent way to in the lift laughing at the fact they now had ‘Scrum track tasks and approaches, and preferable to Masters’. the old school ‘justify your existence meetings’ where everyone went around and explained in laborious detail just how busy they were.

Now Agile is seeping out of projects and dripping onto Business As Usual (BAU). There are seminars on how to incorporate Agile into our daily work. The accounting team has a visual board of sticky notes on their wall. Analysts are


And what about our big, complex projects? They need special management and handling when it comes to project governance. Large, conservative organisations tailoring their PRINCE2 framework to include Agile – a bit like having chocolate chips in ice cream. Certainly, you can make PRINCE2 into whatever you want. The Office of Government Commerce states: ‘PRINCE2 can be used whatever the project scale, complexity, geography or culture… Tailoring PRINCE2 appropriately is ‘full PRINCE2’’ (2009). What I’m seeing is the project mapped out in PRINCE2, while the core software bits are done in Agile. At a recent post-graduate gathering, I heard mixed feedback from software development teams regarding this approach. Firstly, the guts of the Agile process work; selecting features to develop from the index card backlogs and features are developed iteratively. But some colleagues said


that sprints and fixed stage gates aren’t quite fitting together. Features are dropped from sprints so that stage gate deadlines can be hit. The marriage of an Agile work environment to a more conservative project methodology with fixed budgets, stage gates and deadlines requires careful thought for integration.

Stakeholder engagement and communication plans shouldn’t be fixed either. As stakeholders’ perceptions of the project’s impact changes, the communication plan reflects how to manage stakeholder’s attitudes across the life of the project. Back to our Cross-City Tunnel story the engagement plan didn’t consider the public backlash against the project when traffic was Some armchair thinking ideas include having redirected into the tunnel in an attempt to bump the project steering committee focus more on up toll revenue (Pretorius et al. 2008). long term benefits rather than simply achieving short-term deliverables. One of the NSW State There’s still further scope for distributing Agile Government’s goals for the Cross-City Tunnel inside conservative organisations and embedding project was not to bear any of the project costs the methodology inside other frameworks like (Pretorius et al. 2008). The financial issues tainted PRINCE2. Generally, if our software development public perception of the project; perhaps it can be Agile, there’s also scope for re-thinking would have been better from the start if they had other systems such as stage gate planning, focused on trying to build the best tunnel system risk management and communication plans to for the long term benefit of the city. benefit from increased flexibility. I don’t think that everything will go Agile, but it will certainly colour how our existing methodologies for complex projects are managed in conservative organisations.


Image: Sydney Morning Herald

Depending on the scope of the project’s complexity, perhaps conservative organisations may consider a milestone approach to development, rather than fixed gates and deadlines. Rather than saying, ‘Stage 2 starts in December 2019’ we could say that ‘Stage 2 will start when we have achieved the ideal design for the tunnel project.’

Ackermann, F., Howick, S., Quigley, J., Walls, L. & Houghton, T. 2014, ‘Systemic risk elicitation: Using causal maps to engage stakeholders and build a comprehensive view of risks’, European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 238, no. 1, pp. 290–9. Office of Government Commerce 2009, Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2009th edn, The Stationery Office, London. Pretorius, F., Lejot, P., McInnis, A., Arner, D. & Fong-Chung Hsu, B. 2008, Project Finance for Construction & Infrastructure, First., Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Hong Kong.

Risk management could focus more on capturing emergent risks rather than trying to nail down all risks in a standard ISO 9001:2015 risk register. A tool for this is emergent risk mapping, where risks are diagrammed out into a mind map, and links between risks can be more easily identified than when they are viewed in a risk register (Ackermann et al. 2014). BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS


ARTICLES Interdisciplinary Obstacles in PM Liam Osawa Liam Osawa is studying for a Bachelor of Economics/Law at the Australian National University. He is the founder of ExamineChange, a for-purpose data consultancy and marketing research organisation that provides useful insights and analysis for social enterprises and non-for-profits. He has experience within management consulting, environmental economics, data analytics and market research.

A reflection on the interdisciplinary obstacles in project management If there is a single thing I learned about managing a large team of University students, it’s that academic disciplines collide. I lead an organisation that provides data analytics and market research to not-for-profits. Our teams consist of undergraduate and post-graduate economics, law, computer science, statistics, and almost every other discipline that’s taught around Universities.

Most disciplines converge on the method of solving problems. Although their approaches might differ, there is a similarity between building models, looking at evidence, creating logical solutions, and applying theory. Where the disciplines diverge is the more fascinating part. Leading a group of about fifteen, well-educated and mature students has shown me that everyone has differing views on teamwork, the role of management, and the areas where disciplines can foreseeably collaborate. 14 | ICCPM CONNECT

This was the part I didn’t expect when I founded my organisation and began to recruit students. To be entirely honest, I expected there to be a large divergence in solving the exact problems. When you consider the differences in disciplines, you would expect there to be a wide-gap in how problems are considered and analysed. You’d expect an economist or a statistician to think about a data problem in a completely different way than a law or arts student might. After watching my teams solely become less dependent on the direction I put them in, I saw that there was a natural convergence on the methods of analysing a problem. Upon reflection, I noticed that teamwork was taught in very different ways when you compare each discipline. Throughout my Economics degree, I noticed a lack of group assignments and a focus on solitary study. In the commerce electives, I took, there was a huge emphasis on group-work and that almost every subject I took had a group component to it. Finally, throughout my law degree, I’ve only had a small number of group projects that were not an emphasis throughout the course. I’ve researched the different disciplines at the University and have seen varying levels of group-work with many of the quantitative disciplines steering away from it. How does this affect project management? It makes managing a team a whole lot more complex. If there is one thing I’ve learned from group-work, it’s that delegation is key to the success of a team. Nobody likes freeloaders, and BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

the morale of the team working behind a project is negatively affected when an equal amount of work isn’t distributed throughout its constituents. If delegation isn’t done correctly, you end up with a half-baked product, frustrated team-members, and an endorsement for free-loading.

and workplaces, others have had awful times. This makes a considerable difference to how your team will approach a project, and it’s something that should definitely be recognised.

Overcoming interdisciplinary obstacles Overcoming these obstacles was not easy for the first few projects that my team worked on. I put an emphasis on ensuring that no-one was left with the entire load of the project, but sometimes this is hard to nail on the head. It requires a project manager that understands the need for a uniform perception to teamwork. This can be done in a few simple steps. Letting the team know about your expectations, making it clear that everyone will be bearing an equal load, and encouraging collaboration rather than individualism. It’s difficult, as everyone has had different experiences with teamwork throughout their University experiences. Some have had great teams in their group assignments, societies,



ARTICLES Virtual Team Communications Francis Norman Francis Norman is a professionally qualified and experienced management consultant and engineering manager with a strong focus on “Virtual Teams� through his PhD studies. He has worked with personnel in a wide range of distributed teams and provides coaching and mentoring to leaders and teams engaged in distributed projects. Francis began his career in technical engineering roles before moving into management roles in 2005. Through his leadership positions he has developed significant experience building, developing and managing large teams, supporting business development activities and building and implementing strategy. He has a comprehensive understanding of all phases of project delivery and has experience of major projects from early phase design, FEED and detail engineering through construction and commissioning to eventual client hand over in Australia and overseas. Francis specialises in virtual team development and dynamics, management consulting, project interpersonal communications, and engineering management. Francis is Director of Ulfire. In the simplest of forms of human communications, two individuals with similar cultural and demographic views and values, who speak the same language and have similar levels of communication skills would talk face to face, discussing and agreeing courses of action and, in the process, ensuring that both parties fully understand what is being discussed. This is, of course, the very simplistic, utopian view of things. Sadly, this is the default assumption in many business and project environments, regardless of the reality that confronts them each and every day. The sad and simple fact is that many simply fail to recognise the communications complications that simply having personnel working for them bring.

skills and barriers applies whether the team is colocated or virtual, and whether the team is in a highly heterogeneous, multi-cultural environment or a more homogeneous, single culture location. Communications complications arise through age, gender, social status, profession, place of birth, even schools attended, each and every factor impacts the way in which personnel will communicate, what they will say and how they will say it, what they hear and how they interpret the message.

Additional personnel add communications complications Communication becomes increasingly complex as the numbers of individuals increase. With every additional team member added, the mix of cultural, linguistic, value systems and communication skill levels within your team becomes virtually exponentially more complicated, quickly reaching almost infinite levels of differences. This increasing variation in communications abilities,



Becoming increasingly virtual adds further communications complications Communications become even more difficult as teams move from co-location to virtual. The physical separation alone makes any communications more difficult, with added issues around the mode and form of communication along with challenges associated with time zones. As organisations move from national to international virtual teams, the communications complications continue to grow. International locations in a virtual team add potential language barriers, different organisational norms, different leadership styles and structures along with a myriad of other challenges.

of communications complications occurring either sequentially or concurrently, and still find time to actually deliver the project?

Virtuality begins to appear as soon as team members are spread across multiple floors in the same building, compounding by distance, country and time zone. These challenges are further exacerbated in a project environment where many personnel will, by definition, have only a temporary role, a situation that does not allow them to become established.

This need for diversity of approach and technique is particularly important as teams become more diverse and virtual. Generational differences alone mean that different personnel may need different tools. Cultural, time zone, linguistic and every other difference all require specific consideration in messaging and mode selection.

Yet many organisations and projects assume that this separation by space and time, language and culture does not impact communications and insist on communicating to all of their team in the same way using the same tools and language. Recognise the differences and plan for them So, how do you plan for all of these variations within a project environment where, at different stages, you may well have all of the above types


The first thing is to recognise that these differences exist, that they are real and must be managed just like every other part of your business or project. You cannot simply use a “one size fits all� approach to business and project communications anymore. Communications need to be tailored, and interpersonal communications need to be facilitated through the provision of and access to a range of different tools and techniques rather than a single, company mandated mechanism.

So, the take home (or take to work) message here is this, diversity of communications is the solution to communications complications at the same time as it is the cause, embrace the complications and encourage your teams and people to communicate openly and freely in culturally and diversity sensitive ways. Yes, formal communications such as the exchange of technical data will need to be handled through formal channels but the humans on your team need the freedom to be just that, human.



2011 In 2011 the focus for ICCPM management included a ‘soft’ international expansion strategy into areas of the globe that ‘self-identified’ through interested parties to spread the message and philosophy of ICCPM. Following the establishment of ICCPM USA Ltd as a US-based subsidiary company in April 2010, ICCPM USA was granted not-for-profit charitable status with the US Internal Revenue Service. ICCPM appointed Mr Fred Payne as its President of ICCPM North American operations. The organisation also established connections in Brazil that had the potential to become the South American operations for the company although many interactions occurred including visits, conference support and the like, a formal establishment of operations was not able to be achieved. That said, we recognise the support provided by Vianna Tavares, Antonio Nigro, Petrobas University, IBP, MundoPM and all who took the time to work with us. The Central and South America region remains an area of interest for us - in particular maintaining and building on our existing connections.

Peter Fritz, Harry Dunstall, Jason Clare, Stephen Hayes, Chris Jenkins

The international Task Force report, ‘Complex Project Management – Global Perspectives and the Strategic Agenda to 2025’, was formally launched in Australia, the US and the UK. The report was well received and generated significant interest. Topics covered in the report include: • Delivery Leadership – the ability to navigate through uncertainty and ambiguity to achieve the desired outcome. 18 | ICCPM CONNECT

• Collaboration – working as one team to a mutually agreed goal and equitable reward. • Benefits Realisation – understanding and delivering through-life product value. • Risk, Opportunity & Resilience – taking good risk, seizing emergent opportunity, and successfully responding to the unexpected. • Culture, Communication and relationships – maximising the effectiveness of the human asset by understanding and responding to human behavioural need. • Sustainability and Education – continuous learning, maintaining currency in leadership capability and knowledge transfer across generational boundaries in order to sustain through-life capability This report is quoted and attributed in most credible articles that discuss complex projects around the world both in academic and practitioner published works.

In August 2011 we hosted the second research and innovation seminar in collaboration with SKema University in Lille, France. Speakers included Mary McKinlay, Rev Michael Cavanagh, Nick Obolensky, Tom Dauber, Paul Mallory, Anne Pisarski, Ed Hoffman, Barbara Chomika, John Findlay and Louis Klein. Board members in 2011 included: Charles (Tom) Burbage, Stephen Hayes, Simon Henley, Rick Yuse, Harry Bradford, Mary McKinlay, Kim Gillis, Chris Jenkins, Harry Dunstall. Staff in 2011 included: Stephen Hayes, Brett Ackroyd, Christine Levers, and Thu Tran. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

2012 During 2012 we embarked once again on our popular roundtable format. This time focussing the series on ‘Complexity in a Time of Global Financial Change: Program Delivery for the New Economy’.

The organisation continued working toward global expansion through the recognition of interested connectors in Russia, UK, France, India, Brazil and the USA. This included the delivery of education in conjunction with QUT and Maverick and Boutique.

Participants from the US, UK, Europe and Australia The 3rd Research and Innovation Seminar was were asked to consider several critical questions: once again hosted in Lille, France, by SKEMA. 1. What might be the features of a new Speakers included: Naomi Brookes, Alison Hood, “operating system” that provides business John Findlay & Abby Straus, Louis Klein, Tim Cummins, Sue Pritchard, Rev Michael Cavanagh, and government leaders with: Terry Williams, Manfred Saynisch, Roxanne Zolin, • the insight necessary to learn from and act Brett Ackroyd, Annet Noordik, Jeroen Blijsie, upon what is happening right now,. This Christophe Bredillet, and Hannelie Nyiri. will enable them to deal with paradox, and in doing so bridge the differences between their partisan political positions; • have the foresight to imagine a new and better future; • interpret the cues from what is emerging to take the calculated risks necessary to develop and launch the new products and services citizens, clients and consumers will need, and; and • have the appropriate oversight or feedback mechanisms/processes to turn risk into opportunity and achieve dynamic stability both locally and globally no matter what conditions are encountered. 2. What might be the features of a “smart” risk taking approach that allows elements of a new “operating system” to be trialed, evaluated and once proven, connected into a larger system, or quickly abandoned or re-invented if it does not work as well as expected? 3. What will it take to create new, more agile, flexible ways of creating the future, and an approach that develops people so that many more of us have the high level technical and leadership skills required to design, develop and use the “new operating system”?

Rev Michael Cavanagh

Board members in 2012 included: Charles (Tom) Burbage, Chris Jenkins, Stephen Hayes, Simon Henley, Harry Bradford, Mary McKinlay, Kim Gillis, Harry Dunstall.

Staff in 2012 included: Stephen Hayes, Brett 4. How can we show leadership to other sectors, Ackroyd, Christine Levers, Thu Tran, Zoya Patel, so that the most appropriate new projects and Fred Payne, Diane Hope, Deborah Hein and Kate programs are developed and implemented, Hubbard. that “raise all boats” to ensure that society flourishes rather than collapsing into dystopia? BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS



2013 During late 2012 and into 2013 we identified the need for industry-led research to improve the delivery of projects and as is the way finding an appropriate funding vehicle is always a challenge. The Co-operative Research Centre Program (CRC) at the time seemed like the most effective way of achieving this objective. ICCPM management set about accumulating interest from Academia and Industry to develop a bid for the 2014 round of applications. The case to be mounted was as follows: “The CRC for Managing Complex Projects and Programs aims to realise a direct economic impact of $0.5 billion with a potential minimum flow-on benefit for the Australian Economy of $9 billion between 2015 and 2030”. “Large and complex projects and programs are a significant component of the Australian economy. Complex projects and programs exist in all sectors including defence and aerospace, health, IT and services, resources and energy, infrastructure and the public sectors. The infrastructure sector alone accounts for $921 billion in projects. In the resource and energy sector, which typifies many other sectors, Australia is 40% more expensive than the United States. Improvements in the project management of large complex projects provide a significant opportunity to improve productivity and Australia’s international competitiveness in the delivery of all projects. Conservative estimates suggest that a 10% gain in productivity could be realised by improved project management approaches. The CRC for Managing Complex Projects and Programs aims to realise a direct risk adjusted economic impact of $0.5 billion with a potential minimum flow-on benefit for the Australian Economy of $9 billion between 2015 and 2030. This will also lead to significant spill over benefits for Australian Government and other organisations in the public and private sectors through improving their competitiveness.” A bid team was established that included ICCPM, Queensland University of Technology, Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Curtain University, Adelaide University, CSIRO 22 | ICCPM CONNECT

and CIS. The proposal was designed to bring industry, government and researchers together to address problems in complex projects and programs, increase productivity, reduce risks and build future organisational capacity; as well as extend traditional project and program management practice and service delivery through interdisciplinary systems approaches to applied research and problem solving. Five research programs were proposed for prospective partner engagement and future refinement: People, Productivity, Risk, Systems Design and Digital Ecologies. The bid team worked tirelessly on the application until around May 2014 when the government announced the suspension of the CRC program to enable a full review. Our significant investment was a casualty of that decision. It is interesting to note that the need for the identified research has not dissipated at all, in fact it could be argued the need is now greater than it has ever been.

The 4th Research and Innovation Seminar – ‘Preparing for the Unexpected: Flexibility and Resilience in Project Design and Delivery’ was held in London at the prestigious and impressive Lancaster House, built in 1825 for the Duke of York and Albany, the second son of King George III. It can only be said that the surrounds for this conference were second to none, so too the speaker line up. Speakers included Dr Norma Wood, Prof Nun Gil, Mr Jeff Wilcox, Paul Mallory, Alan Barnard, Ulrika Berg, Judith Eastwood, Trevor Higgs, Simon Henley, Vladimir Pirojkov, Greg Balestrero, Peder Berg, Simon Eccles, Keith Jordon, Terry Williams, Knut Samset, Rev Michael Cavanaugh and John Findlay, Prof Carolyn Hatcher and Stephane Tywoniak, David Whitmore, Sue Pritchard and Tim Banfield. BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

We released the thought leadership piece “Hitting a Moving Target – Complex Project and Program Delivery in an Uncertain Word” that contains a large number of recommendations for individuals and organisations to consider Board members in 2013 included: Chris Jenkins, Stephen Hayes, Simon Henley, Harry Bradford, Mary McKinlay, Kim Gillis, Harry Dunstall, Chris Deeble, Julie Dunlap and David Gordon.

connectivity and the international perspective of the organisation. The Board was provided with an Education Strategy to consider at the June Board meeting. The strategy focussed on providing a Certificate IV in Complexity Management to address the learning gap between base discipline training (PM, Eng, Commercial etc.) and the EMCPM. The Board agreed the strategy and development work commenced.

Staff in 2013 included: Stephen Hayes, Steve Hein, Thu Tran, Diane Hope, Kate Hubbard, Amy The ICCPM Complexity Awareness Program was Dunham and Deborah Hein. delivered to two cohorts in 2014 and kick started the successful release of our ICCPM designed, developed and delivered education product.


2014 was a year of significant change for ICCPM. It would be impossible to measure the disappointment felt as a result of the government decision to suspend the CRC program and the feeling of wasted time, energy and resources for the work of the previous 18 – 24 months by the bid team and in particular the driver of the initiative Stephen Hayes, ICCPM MD/CEO. That said the Stephen Hayes made the decision at that point to resign early in June 2014. As the inaugural CEO of ICCPM this was a seminal moment for both Stephen and ICCPM. The ICCPM board acknowledged Stephen’s leadership of the organisation over the seven years of his tenure and the strategies and successes that the organisation has made due to his personal commitment. He achieved recognition of the ICCPM brand in many quarters and he left us in a good position from which to move forward. On 12 August 2014, the Board appointed Deborah Hein as Managing Director and CEO. The change in leadership provided an opportunity to pause and reflect on the past and to review the organisation’s future direction. With a small team, it was essential that efforts were concentrated on achieving high value outcomes for partners, members and the CPM community. This was achieved through a renewed focus to deliver partner and member benefits through a strengthened research and education agenda, robust and relevant networks and utilisation of appropriate technology to create and maintain BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

Board members in 2014 included Harry Bradford, Chris Deeble, Julie Dunlap, Kim Gillis, Stephen Hayes, (resigned June 2014), Simon Henley, Chris Jenkins, Mary McKinlay, Deborah Hein (from August 2014) Staff in 2014 included: Stephen Hayes (resigned June 2014), Thu Tran, Diane Hope, Kate Hubbard, Cathy Baljak and Deborah Hein. The period 2011 – 2014 firmly established ICCPM as the peak body for managing complex projects globally. We contributed significantly to the ever growing body of knowledge focusing on improving delivery and productivity through projects. Our network of partners, members, and friends continued on its upward and outward trajectory and our presence in the market grew. Coming to the end of the period we commenced our transformation and that is where this episode ends and the next chapter begins……. Part Four: 2015 - 2017 will be published in the December CONNECT magazine. ICCPM CONNECT | 23

ARTICLES Edge of Chaos Part II How complex systems theory may offer a new generation solution to complex project risk management

Warren Black The new reality of complex project management This paper builds on from Edge of Chaos (Part I) which demonstrates how large scale, capital intensive and technically intricate projects (aka complex projects) are in fact scientifically valid complex systems, due to their dependence on an advanced number of internal contributing relationships which are continually shifting in pursuit of a common goal. In many ways, complex projects are comparable to those highly adaptive and purpose driven complex systems which exist in nature, biology and science; such as a colony of bees building a hive, an immune system attacking a virus, a hurricane forming off a coastline or a rain-forest preparing for the coming of winter. The observation that projects are in fact scientifically valid, complex systems opens an interesting door for the project management community because if it is indeed true, then it means that the scientifically endorsed rules of Complex Systems Theory apply to project management in much the same manner as any other control system within the broader Complexity Sciences. The new reality for project management is that complex systems do not subscribe to the same set of rules as simplestate, rational-ordered systems as they are subject to unique constraints and emergent phenomena which simply do not occur in the simple-state universe. It is thus these complex systems’ rules, phenomena and constraints that conventional project planning, control and risk management methods need to better acknowledge and account for if they are to add value to the highly dynamic, multi-dimensional and rapidly shifting challenges of modern day complex projects.


The multi-billion dollar (mega) question If one accepts that a project is indeed a scientifically valid, complex system then they must also accept that the scientifically valid rules of complex systems theory apply to projects – one premise cannot be accepted without the other. This then begs the obvious, multi-billion dollar question; how can the principles of complex systems theory be used to establish control within a complex project? It’s a fair question, so let’s attempt to answer it by first considering Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety (1958) which states that in order to secure control of a system you first need to understand it.

Understanding Complex System Behaviour A complex system is a highly integrated entity comprising of an advanced number of internal contributing parts which are often in a highly energised state as they continually interact with and adapt to their changing environmental circumstances. Throughout our history, mankind has been fascinated by complex systems and have studied them intensely so as to better predict their behaviour - consider our ongoing fascination with predicting the outcomes of such complex BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

systems as the weather, social trends, wars, stock markets, global politics and the like. What complexity scientists learnt early on however, was that complex systems are inherently illogical and unpredictable in their behavioural outcomes. Yet despite this, they do retain several common internal properties which help explain how the system’s external behaviours are derived.

contributing agents, resonates back through the system and from this returned feedback the original agents learn and adapt their interactions to compensate. This adjustment then of course creates newer-refreshed relationships, signals, ripples and feedback in a never ending, perpetual loop of interaction and adaption. Think of a ripples cascading across a swimming pool without ever losing momentum; colliding, peaking, troughing and readjusting all in perpetuity. Such continuous interaction and adaption may create periods of relative behavioural stability within the system or equally it may create periods of severe conflict and turbulence, it may create positive behavioural outcomes or it may create negative outcomes. Regardless; the eventual behavioural outcomes of the complex system are determined by the nature in which its’ primary contributing agents interact, generate signals and adapt to the resultant feedback.

For example, every complex system comprises of a number of internal contributing agents (aka constituent parts, nodes etc.), which ultimately determine the system’s behavioural outcomes. In the case of a disease attacking a body, the primary contributing agents are the various strains of germs, cells & antibodies; in a stock market the primary agents are buyers, sellers, commodities & prices and in the case of a hurricane forming off the coast it is the core elements of earth, water, air, pressure & temperature. Despite the severe complexity of their respective systems, in all cases the entire behaviour and associated outcomes of the system can be explained by how only a handful of defined primary agent types engage with each other.

Control Principle # 1: It is a complex system’s primary contributing agents which ultimately determine all behavioural outcomes of the system, thus any attempt at securing management control within a complex system needs to start by attempting to influence the system’s primary contributing agents. Complex Systems Thinking as a means to controlling Complex Project Risk

Edward Lorenz stated in his landmark 1972 paper that just as the subtle beating of a butterfly’s wings may create a sequence of events within a complex system which could compound into tornadoes, these very same beating wings could also generate the necessary interactions to reduce the potential of tornados within the same system. Lorenz’s argument implies that the very same contributing forces which can create a risk within a complex project system can equally, neutralise Elaborating on this premise, the primary the same risk depending on the manner in which contributing agents of a complex system are highly they are allowed to interact and adapt with their energised entities which are continually interacting surrounding environment. with and developing relationships between, both themselves and their surrounding environment. With Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect in mind, the purpose In turn, these interactions create communication of a complex project risk management framework signals which ripple and compound throughout should be to create positive control signals which the system in every direction and dimension. ripple, compound and resonate throughout the The feedback echo that is then generated by project system, ultimately promoting positive these communication ripples bouncing into other system outcomes (opportunities) whilst also BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS


ARTICLES reducing the potential for negative system outcomes (threats). Considering this fundamental requirement as well as the core nature of a complex system; it is evident that any proposed approach to project risk management will need to be sufficiently organised enough to deal with the high volume of interacting relationships in play; resilient enough to deal with the perpetual changes; and intelligently responsive enough to prevent the entire system from suddenly descending into chaos. More to the point, any proposed complex project risk management solution will need to be highly matured, integrated and adaptive. The Case for Control Maturity In its simplest form a complex system is an advanced network of interacting relationships and for this reason when it comes to securing management control within such a system – it’s the quality of the relationship interactions that matter. More specifically, by improving the quality of the system’s internal control relationships the system is better positioned to generate the positive signals and feedback which are required to promote positive system outcomes. What this means for project risk management is that all necessary risk controls need to be highly matured as anything less than a mature control solution will surely be exposed within a system that can generate an unlimited amount of complex variables and outcomes. If any internal control agent weaknesses, impairments or inefficiencies exist within the system, then these impaired (aka immature) controls will generate equally misaligned, weak or immature relationship interactions which in turn will ripple through the complex project system almost certainly yielding negative system outcomes. Control Principle #2: If positive system outcomes are to be achieved, the maturity of the system’s primary control agents is of critical importance as immature control agents are incapable of generating the positive relationships, inspiring signals and intelligent feedback required to generate positive system outcomes. Now although maturing a project’s risk controls may appear to be an obvious guiding principle, it is one that many complex projects regularly fail to execute. Consider how many projects are known 26 | ICCPM CONNECT

to proceed without a fully matured capability in the areas of; 1. Project oversight and decision making (Governance) 2. Appropriate tolerances for risk taking (Risk Appetite) 3. Robust business cases, designs, schedules and cost estimations (Project Planning) 4. Performance management, project controls and status reporting (Delivery Systems) 5. Program-wide credibility & control validity (Project Assurance) 6. Attitude, awareness and accountability towards risk management (Risk Culture)

These six referenced risk controls are well documented in the industry literature as having the potential for either creating or neutralising tornadoes (aka risks & issues), within a project system. Each has a significant industry following and are supported by substantial amounts of peer reviewed literature arguing their criticality in securing effective project risk management. It thus could be reasonably argued that these are the six primary risk control agents of a complex project system, which in turn need to be matured in order to promote the desired positive risk outcomes. Yet despite this, none of the industry endorsed project risk management methodologies require all six of these project risk controls to be considered as part of a complete, program-wide risk solution. As a result, it is rare that complex project stakeholders put a dedicated effort into maturing all six of these risk control agents. This symptom alone may help BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

RESEARCH UPDATE explain why so few complex projects succeed, because in the end they are attempting to control complex, dynamic risks through incomplete and immature means.

risk management is the way the conventional methods treat risks and their associated controls as isolated, independent entities e.g. a single line item on a risk register or an audit check list. This is a fatal flaw in highly complex systems whereby absolutely everything is interconnected and interdependent. If risk management is to have any chance of succeeding within a complex project, then project officers need to focus on establishing two key integration criteria;

NOTE: As all projects are by their very definition unique and can exist at different stages of delivery as well as different states of complexity, each project’s primary risk control agents will need to be determined on a case specific basis. These particular six risk control agents are merely a hypothetical reference for the purposes of (i) Integrate the control environment into discussion. a unified “whole” framework – in order to better control risks which emerge from within a The Case for Control Integration complex interconnected system, such risks need The collective contribution (aka the whole) of a to be viewed as a behavioural outcome of how complex system’s primary control agent relations the project’s control agents are allowed to exist, is known to be so much more momentous than interact and create signals throughout the system. the sum of their individual contributions. Complex Therefore it is only by addressing emerging risks as systems can send, receive and process information an outcome of how the “whole” system behaves across their entire network with a sophistication that any progress can be made. that is not available at the individual component level. Thus, any attempt at establishing a risk In this regard, if risk management is to have any management control framework will need to be genuine impact within a complex project system, done as a fully integrated and program-wide risks will need to be addressed at a systems level solution, in order to influence the complex project by integrating the primary risk control agents into a single unified “whole” control. Remember system as a “whole”. the whole is so much more powerful than the One of the fundamental limitations of traditional individual contributing parts.



ARTICLES (ii) Treat risks as relationship dependent systems not isolated scenarios - treating risks in isolation (ala the traditional risk method) is an impaired method within a complex project system due to the vast number of geographically dispersed and relationship dependant control interfaces that exist across the full spectrum of a complex project. To view risks as single scenarios which can be mitigated by single controls is far too linear and systematic for the needs of highly integrated and dynamic system. If complex project risks are to be better controlled, then relationship based models need to be considered as it is the quality and maturity of the control agent relationship interfaces that either create or neutralise project risks. There are now many tools available to help project officers visualise how an integrated risk and control system may interact. Bayesian Belief Systems, Network Mapping, Exploratory Factor Analysis, 3D Bowties and other highly regarded relationship mapping tools can help project officers visualise the complex project “risk network”. A good example of this visualisation are the Global Risk Maps developed by the World Economic Forum each year (see provided picture). Such risk maps are excellent for demonstrating the interconnected nature of risk and how by attempting to treat one independent risk at a time (ala the traditional risk method) is not as fruitful as addressing the entire risk system as a whole.

Control Principle #3: The reality of complex systems is that they are an advanced network of interconnected relationships and thus any attempt at establishing control needs to be approached as a fully integrated whole control framework, which secures control at an integrated systems level and not at an individual component level. 28 | ICCPM CONNECT

The Case for Control Adaptiveness The fundamental goal of a complex systems approach to securing management control is to find ways to “steer” a system towards a preferred outcome by manipulating the internal mechanisms which ultimately determine that system’s behaviour - much like driving a car. Unlike a car however, a highly complex system has a habit of changing its’ internal control relationships whilst in motion. Thus, the system’s primary control agents must be highly attuned and responsive to the internal system changes and resultant complexity phenomena which may emerge at any time. Such complexity phenomena may include, unpredictability, irrationality, non-linearity, strange attractors, dynamism, fractals and even pure chaos - the nature and impacts of which were discussed in Part I. Regardless, each of these complexity phenomena will require a different control agent relationship response. Validating this view (again), is Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety which advocates that a control framework must retain at least as many possible control solutions as the number of problems which it’s’ operating system can generate. Ashby’s Law is very clear that the only way to deal with a broad diversity of challenges (aka high uncertainty & variation), is to develop a control capability which allows for highly customisable solutions, as only control variety can address system variety. With this control requirement in mind, if risk management is to succeed within complex projects then appointed project officers will need to start acknowledging that complex, dynamic problems cannot be solved by static, simple state solutions. More importantly, appointed risk officers will need to move beyond the “one size fits all” control mentality of the traditional project risk management methodologies towards new, possibly even unconventional methods. Such is the nature of a complex system - unconventional problems require unconventional solutions. Also supporting this need for control variety is Snowden & Boone, the custodians of the well referenced Cynefin Framework. In their study of leadership and decision making within large organisations, S&B successfully demonstrated that as situational complexity increases (or decreases); the chosen management style and BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

control approach needs to adjust accordingly in 2. Mature these control agents so that they order to remain effective. Of particular importance promote quality interactions, relationships, was their observation that a complex situation can signals and feedback throughout the entire exist in four varying states; simple, complicated, complex project system; complex or chaotic and for each state, contextually 3. Integrate these primary control agents into a unique complexity phenomena will emerge thus fully connected “whole” control framework necessitating the need for a contextually particular which addresses risk at a systems level, not at management control approaches. individual component level; 4. Ensure the whole control framework is highly informed, responsive and adaptive in order to address the broad range of complex challenges which might emerge at any time. These four guiding principles are equally applicable to any control area of a complex project system including planning, estimations, cost management, schedule management, scope management and the like. However for the purposes of this paper, risk management was selected as the preferred control area and in light of this it is argued that Complex Project Risk Management is the formal discipline of promoting positive system outcomes by maturing, integrating and adapting a project’s primary risk control agents. Control Principle #4: Highly complex systems do not exist within a static, stable, one dimensional state. Quite the contrary, complex systems are known to be highly dynamic and tend to evolve, regress and transition between different states of complexity and associated phenomena. For this reason, a complex project risk control framework will need to be highly informed, responsive and adaptive in order to address the broad range of complex challenges which might emerge at any time. In Closing… Complex systems do not behave in the same manner as rational-ordered, simple state systems and for this reason project officers need to start becoming more attuned to the specific influences and phenomena which arise from within a complex project system. As a starting point, four guiding principles are offered as a means to rationalise complex systems thinking into project management and control efforts; 1. Establish the primary control agents which determine the complex project system’s behavioural outcomes; BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

Lastly, it should be noted that the fundamental difference of this hypothesised approach and that of the traditionally accepted, project risk management methods is that this method does not encourage practicing officers to “predict, measure & treat” individual risk scenarios as the primary means of risk control. Predictive methods of management control are highly contentious in complexity science because as systematic complexity increases; predictably, consistency and rationality decreases thereby severely impairing the ability to predict outcomes. Complex systems thinking in contrast, encourages its’ practicing officers to rather focus their efforts on influencing those internal relationships within a complex system which have the potential to promote positive system outcomes. In many ways, complex systems theory represents new and potentially unconventional thinking for the invested project risk management community, but as always; our challenge lies not in finding new ways of thinking, but rather moving away from the old ways of thinking.


RESEARCH UPDATE Global Research Survey We have commenced a survey to understand and shape the research agenda going forward. We are interested to know what our stakeholder community think should be the research focus in the context of complexity in project management. So please take a minute to give us your feedback.


Take the Global Research Survey

Next Generation Engagement Project This Project is being led by the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne and aims to identify and address the knowledge gaps in engagements, social risk management and social licence. ICCPM is pleased to be participating as an industry partner. With an unprecedented $100 billion infrastructure program being delivered nationally and around $20 billion in projects delayed, cancelled or mothballed due to community opposition over the past decade, the Next Generation Engagement team is inviting infrastructure professionals, policy makers and impacted communities to comment on the early findings of the groundbreaking Next Generation Engagement Project. The Research Priorities represents the results of a survey and workshops with infrastructure practitioners across Australia.

Summary Report pilot, industry-wide almost 200 leading and policymakers

“Through this early work we’ve identified industry’s top priorities and have set out a plan to help address those issues through a globally relevant research program. We now want to test those ideas with industry, government and the broader community to make sure it passes the ‘real world’ test,” Research Director Dr Sara Bice said. Your feedback will inform a final report, due to be released in November, which will set the agenda for a three to five year year international research program – the first of its kind. Download the Research Priorities Summary Report here and tell us what you think. 30 | ICCPM CONNECT

Infrastructure Planning is Political: An urban planning perspective on engagement Infrastructure planning is a political act. Many the political party has risen and fallen on the back of an infrastructure project. The cancellation of Perth’s Freight Link and Melbourne’s East West Link, both undertaken as Labor election promises, are just two examples of the role of community opposition and political cycles in influencing infrastructure decisions. In Sydney, the WestConnex project is beset by dramatic cost and time escalations, staunch community opposition, and accusations of conflicts of interest. At the same time, community trust in government institutions, the media and business has fallen dramatically in Australia. This is partially because the community (often correctly) interprets community engagement activity as a tokenistic attempt to justify a foregone conclusion. Read the Expert Commentary by Dr Kate Raynor BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS


validated by research

Analyse Performance

complexity diagnostic tool

Guidance Report

complexity diagnostic report

Diagnose complexity within projects Identify complexity-related risks Best practices guidance for management interventions Track performance over time Multiple stakeholder views Executive dashboards for cross-project comparisons Based on validated research and aligned to the ICCPM Competency Standard Complexity Diagnosis

To register your project for a Complexity Diagnostic you can do so at the ICCPM website or contact us on 02 6120 5110 or ICCPM CONNECT | 7 BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

EDUCATION UPDATE Welcome to our Training Co-ordinator This month we welcomed our new permanent training coordinator, Anna Tasker. We are pleased to have Anna join the team and look forward to her improving our student administration and customer service. For any training related queries, please contact Anna on or 02 6120 5112.


Graduates of the Cert IV ICCPM would like to congratulate the following recent graduates of the Cert IV in Responding to Organisational Complexity. In doing so these graduates have become part of a growing number of people in Australia to hold this one-of-a-kind nationally recognised qualification in organisational complexity. • • • • • • • • •

Jude Burger John McLaughlin Patricia Rouhan Ian Biggs Luis-Eduardo Gonzalez Nathan Royall Craig Savige Nathan Thompson Mark Francis

• • • • • • • • •

Dylan Hand Scott Woollatt Paul D’Orrival Tyson Sorensen Shane Sarlin Ben Kennedy Kyle Brown James Connell David Gordon

“It seems like all the projects I’ve worked on lately have been incredibly complex, and existing project and change management approaches do not provide sufficient tools to effectively manage those layers of complexity. When I learned about ICCPM’s Cert IV in Responding to Organisational Complexity, I enrolled immediately. Now that I’ve completed the course, I recommend it highly. The tools we were introduced to were excellent and could be readily applied in real-world situations. The three short courses were well presented, well-paced and interesting, and there was just the right amount of assessment to ensure we understood the topics. I am much better prepared to manage the varied – and inevitable – risk and leadership challenges in complex project environments.” Jude Burger, Deputy Project Director - Thales



Information Sessions Over the past two months, we have hosted Information Sessions for our next intake in both Canberra and Sydney and plan to host sessions in Melbourne and Brisbane in the upcoming months. The first units of our next course intake commence in November, please refer to the training calendar for details. Continuous Development The ICCPM Cert IV in Responding to Organisational Complexity has been very well received by the market since its inception and we are now being asked what is next? Our original Training and Assessment Strategy included the development of a diploma level course as part of a progression pathway from the Cert IV. Following on from the success of the Cert IV we are now currently in the research and development phase of the diploma course and have created a survey to gather opinions from our stakeholder community on preferred course modules and content. Your feedback is important to us, please take a few minutes to complete the survey. Take the Education Development Survey

ICCPM Training Calendar Cert IV in Responding to Organisational Complexity Dates 6 - 8 November 2017

Details Complexity in Project Environments

dates to be advised

Risk and Decision Making in Complex Environments

dates to be advised

Lead Through Organisational Complexity

14 - 16 Nov 2017

Complexity in Project Environments

14 - 15 Feb 2018

Risk and Decision Making in Complex Environments

4 - 5 April 2018

Lead Through Organisational Complexity

28 - 30 Nov 2017

Complexity in Project Environments

20 - 21 Feb 2018

Risk and Decision Making in Complex Environments

17 - 18 April 2018

Lead Through Organisational Complexity

6 - 8 February 2018

Complexity in Project Environments

10 - 11 April 2018

Risk and Decision Making in Complex Environments

5 - 6 June 2018

Lead Through Organisational Complexity

6 - 8 March 2018

Complexity in Project Environments

1 - 2 May 2018

Risk and Decision Making in Complex Environments

26 - 27 June 2018

Lead Through Organisational Complexity


Location Perth






ICCPM NETWORK Member Profile Dr Stephen Grey Stephen started work with the UK Ministry of Defence as a scientist working on solid rocket propellants before going on to system studies in STC Defence and then risk management with ICL UK. Since returning to Australia and joining the specialist risk management consulting group Broadleaf, over twenty years ago, he has specialised in risk management across a wide range of sectors. For the past five years he has been exploring complex systems methods, mainly those arising from the work of David Snowden and the Cynefin framework. Quantitative modelling has been at the heart of Stephen’s work since his PhD research. In 1995, he published one of the first books on the application of Monte Carlo simulation modelling techniques to project cost and schedule risk analysis: Practical Risk Assessment for Project Management (Wiley). More recently, he is one of the authors of Broadleaf’s book first published in 2005 and then updated in a second edition in 2014: Project Risk Management Guidelines: Managing Risk with ISO 31000 and IEC 62198 (Wiley). From system studies in the 1980s through to the exploration of complexity science methods today, Stephen has complemented his quantitative analytical work with a keen interest in methods that today fall under the general heading of sense making. A lot of Broadleaf’s work adopts a sense making perspective, using qualitative and quantitative methods to test and explore a team’s understanding of their work so that they can refine and optimise it.

How to join ICCPM Visit and follow the links to join as either an Individual Member (open to everyone) or a Partner Employee (open to employees of our partners). If you are a Partner Employee please contact us so we can provide you with your Corporate Code. We will be profiling members of the ICCPM network in each issue of the CONNECT magazine; if you would like to appear or suggest someone for a profile in a future edition please get in touch. Benefits of Membership • Member events

• Monthly Member Bulletin

• Networking opportunities

• Early notification of ICCPM events

• Access to the online Member Forum to interact with other members

• Discounts on ICCPM courses and events

• Opportunity to contribute to ICCPM sponsored research


• Access to research, communications and information reserved for ICCPM members • Opportunity to contribute to the ICCPM eBook series BUILDING CAPABILITY IN COMPLEX ENVIRONMENTS

Fellow Profile Deborah Feakins Deborah Feakins was made a Fellow of ICCPM in September 2016. She is a Director of Marlowe Consulting, a UK based change management consultancy. She is the former head of the Change Management Institute in the UK and specialises in Change Management across complex projects, programmes and portfolios Deborah was the first Change Management Institute Accredited Change Manager Master in Europe and supports and advises organisations on setting out clear change management and people strategies to deliver successful, intentional and transformational change. She provides organisations and leaders from multiple sectors (including public and private), with best practice and thought leadership through practical delivery support, coaching and mentoring to help realise transformation benefits and grow organisational capability. “It is difficult to imagine what our world would look and feel like if we did not have the combined skills to effect major complex projects and programmes. The work that ICCPM engages in to seek innovative ways to collaborate, share best practice and improve in this field make my involvement as a member and fellow both highly rewarding and challenging. How to ensure complex projects and programmes are successful, realise their return on investment and are delivered sustainably for the long term clearly depends on a variety of skills. Not least the need to work with, support and engage those people impacted by the project both directly and indirectly. My focus with both public and private sector clients, working with leaders and front line managers, is on this people element of change and ensuring that it is built in as an intrinsic, considered and practical approach at the heart complex project delivery.”

ICCPM Welcomes New Members Rohith Amaratunga

John Gregory

Billy Mcilear

Neil Armstrong

Stephen Grey

Justin Michael

Cara Aspel

Tracy Guthrie

Bruce Murrell

Jason Blair

Stephen Haddow

Lindsay O’Neill

Ray Brandt

Cassandra Harris

Scott Purcell

David Coli

Graham Hawkins

Peter Robinson

Jennifer Commegno

Sascha Jerrentrup

Tina Stephenson

Michael Conroy

Jason Kennedy

Norah Walden

Marcus Dorey

Genene Kleppe

Ken Wilkinson

Diane Dowdy

Alison Lee

Paul Williamson

Rod Ennis

William Madley

Scott Wilson

Nick Gothard

Scott Marriott

Jim Young



ICCPM SOLUTIONS ICCPM Solutions Pty Ltd is a boutique service provider established to provide advisory services and support to the most complex projects and programs that exist today and will exist tomorrow. We focus on helping organisations to recognise complexity in all its forms, develop strategies and advise on implementation of strategies, ICCPM Solutions has a proven track record of success.










Contact us on 02 6120 5110 or PEOPLE

to discuss your needs and we can work out a plan to support your delivery.




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LINKS & EVENTS Event Calendar Dates



10-11 October 11 - 13 October 22 - 24 October 28 - 30 October 14 Feb 2018 25 April 2018 30 May - 1 June 2018

Defence, Industry & National Security Forum IACCM Americas Conference AIPM National Conference PMI Global Conference ADM Congress 2018 APM Project Management Conference IACCM Australasia Conference

Wellington, NZ Toronto, Canada Melbourne, Australia Chicago, USA Canberra, Australia UK Brisbane, Australia

The next edition of CONNECT will be published in mid December - watch out for it in your inbox • The ICCPM Story Part Four • Book review • Articles • Education and Research updates • Around the network Contributions are welcome and need to be submitted to by 1 December 2017




ICCPM also recognises the support of the following organisations: AIPM APM (UK) APM Group ARPI CSIRO DAU Hudson IACCM IPMA MinterEllison The PM Channel SE Group Telfer Centre for Executive Leadership


University of Hull


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