Dissertation Managing Project Complexity

The Importance of Experience in Project Managers when Managing Project Complexity – A Study into the UAE

Traditionally, the success of a project lays on the shoulders of project managers and its achievement is constantly measured by the properties of cost, time and quality, which appear to be a simple way of measuring within the construction industry. Interest for project management is becoming fundamental. Yet, projects keep on failing at an astounding rate. This research has investigated the education level of project managers in managing project complexity, by understanding the current educational level of project managers and also to understand whether advanced education is required before achieving the designation of project manager.

Managing Project Complexity
Managing Project Complexity

This dissertation also investigates the leadership qualities and skills required for project manager to handle complex project. This research was done in 2 steps; first step of the research is to review the literature. The literature review consists of project success, complexity, background experience, skills, leadership qualities and education. Second step is to conduct an online survey by preparing 20 questions and is sent to 50 selected project managers and directors of different companies and sectors. Out of 50, 31 responded to the survey.

After analyzing the results from survey, it was found that most of the project managers have not achieved any advanced education before achieving the designation and their current education emphasized more on engineering – technical aspects and less on management aspects. The project managers who had advanced education were given more importance to hard skills (which are scope, time, quality and cost) and soft skills (which are communication, social, conflict management, etc.).

In this dissertation, many project managers had different view on project complexity. However, most of them stated that the factors relating to complexity are due to financial problems, uncertain designs and no proper construction details. Finally, the dissertation has been concluded by saying that advanced education is required for project manager to manage uncertainty and complexity. However having experience is one of the most important factors in addition with education for project success.

Dissertation Objectives

  • To investigate the educational level in project managers and to understand their abilities in adapting with change in project complexity
  • To understand the skills and experience needed to become a project manager and for project success
  • To measure project success in complexity
  • To understand the leadership qualities required for project success

1 – Introduction
Research Methodology

2 – Project Success

3 – Complexity
Complexity in Construction
Measuring complexity in construction

4 – Project Manager’s Experience and Skills Required for Project Success
Project Manager’s Experience
Project management skills
Required skills for managing complexity

5 – Leadership in Project Managers for Project Success
Leadership in Construction Industry
Different Leadership challenges faced in Complexity
Leadership Styles and Competencies in Construction
Political skills, Leadership and Project success
Modern Leadership in Construction Industry

6 – Education for Project Managers
Challenges faced in project management training and education
Evolution of project management and project managers
Approaches in educating project managers
Advanced training in educating project manager

7 – Research Methodology and Design
Research Methodology
Survey Questionnaire

8 – Data Results and Analysis
Data Results
Data Analysis

9 – Conclusion and Recommendations


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I do hope you enjoyed reading this post on Importance of Experience in Project Managers when Managing Project Complexity. There are many other titles available in the construction dissertation collection that should be of interest to construction management students and building professionals. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of construction such as project management techniques, environmental management, building and construction methods to name a few. It took a lot of time to write this post and I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.

System Development Life Cycle SDLC

System Development Life Cycle (SDLC)

Seven Step SDLC

The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) ensures end-state solutions in accordance to the requirements provided by the user in support of business strategic goal and objectives. It represents a structured, systematic approach that aims at developing information systems. The SDLC incorporates a comprehensive checklist of rules and regulations governing IT systems. The provisions are aimed at ensuring system developers adhere to the different set guides. The seven step SDLC incorporates seven phases that need adamant consideration by the developers to ensure accurate realization of the intended goals. The phases include planning, analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance.

Seven Step SDLC
Seven Step SDLC

First, the planning phase of the SDLC demands the developers need to determine a solid plan for developing the information system desired. In the phase, three primary activities need to be ensured for optimality. The system to be developed must be defined, identified and selected in accordance with the strategic goals of the organization (Balaji& Murugaiyan, 2012).  Secondly, the developer needs to consider the scope of the project. The scope provides the high-level system requirements. It is the basic definition of the system. Lastly, the system development team needs to define the project plan. Hoffer (2012) argues that a plan responds to the what, when and who questions in the system developing activities together with all the activities to be performed including the individuals and resources to be involved in the SDLC process.

Secondly, the analysis phase, which involves the end users and IT specialists. The two stakeholders gather, understand and document business requirements for the intended system. Primarily, the developers at the stage aim at gathering sufficient information regarding the business or end user requirements (Rosenblatt, 2013). The requirements are the knowledge workers’ requests that the system must meet to be qualified as successful. This can be undertaken using a Joint Application Development (JAD) session. A process in which knowledge workers and IT specialists engage one another to define and review business requirements.

In the third phase, the design, the developers build a technical blueprint detailing how the proposed system will work. According to Rosenblatt (2013), the point of view shifts from a business perspective to a technical one. Immediately, the development phase follows. The phase takes consideration of all detailed design documents from the design phase and transform them to an actual system. The developers during the phase build the different technical architecture by purchasing and setting it up. In addition, the necessary software programs are written in the database for ease of navigation by the end user.

Once the system is developed, there is a need to test the program. This comes in handy as the fifth step in the seven step SDLC. Here the system is verified on whether it executes all the business requirements as defined in the analysis phase. A detailed test condition is developed and performed with the expected results evaluated. Once the developers are satisfied that the system works appropriately, they proceed to the implementation phase. In this step, the system is distributed to all knowledge workers who begin using the system to perform their routine jobs. However, a user documentation must be provided, which details how the knowledge workers will use the system.

The implementation phase might take different approaches depending on the end user and the developing team (Leau, Loo, Tham & Tan, 2012). Such include the pilot, phased, plunge or the parallel implementation. Each of the implementation holds merit and demerits that the stakeholders need to consider.

The seven step SDLC considers maintenance as the last phase. In the phase, stakeholders monitor and support the new system to ensure its ability to enable the business to realize its goals. During the phase, the developers and knowledge workers can advance the system with the different changes of the business environment.

Four Step SDLC Model

Four Step SDLC
Four Step SDLC

The four-step SDLC model considers a different number of steps to be involved in the development of a system for a business entity. The different steps include identification, design, construction and evaluation and risk analysis. Under the four step SDLC, the project goes through the four phases in iterations (Boehm, 1988). The SDLC model similar to the seven-step model begins by the identification of the objectives in relation to the business that the developers and the knowledge workers desire to execute using the system.

In the initial phase, identification, business requirements are gathered and later a system appropriate for the requirements identified. In addition, subsystem requirements and unit requirements are executed at the phase to ensure consistency during the development phase. Therefore, the knowledge workers and the developer need to interact excessively to ensure a mutual content on the needs that the system should satisfy. Significantly, the different alternatives and constraints are identified by the parties who later see a way of mitigating each of the shortcoming for the benefit of developing a perfect system.

Once the identification stage is complete, the team launches the design phase. The phase involves a conceptual design and an architectural design, logical design, physical product design and the final design. The different designs serve a greater role in ensuring systematic analysis of the project at each level of design to address any likely challenges. The construction stage comes in handy after the two phases are successfully executed. In the phase, the actual system is developed and engaged for the different needs.

A Proof of Concept document needs to accompany the system during the delivery to the knowledge workers to get feedback on the system (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014). The information is often used for advancing or corrective measures necessary to ensure client satisfaction. The testing of the project is also done at the stage to optimize correction of the system.

In the last phase of the four-step SDLC process, the developer and client conduct a risk analysis procedure where they identify, estimate and monitor any technical feasibility probable. The appropriate management risks are engaged to ensure optimal results. For instance, a schedule slippage and cost overrun can be conducted to optimize the process. The customer needs to evaluate the system developed to determine whether it meets the project specifications provided during the first phase. In case the client or the developer identifies any issues concerning the system, the necessary steps are undertaken to resolve the problem. Considering the short cycle of the four-step model, reviews are inevitable in each phase (Boehm, 1988). The client and developers concerned with the system development analyze the previous cycle. The review covers all products developed in the previous cycle, including the plans for the next cycle. In addition, the required resources are evaluated for executing the subsequent cycle.

Comparing and Contrasting the Seven Step and Four Step Models

The seven-step and four-step model elicit similarities and differences worth considering in the study. The two models embrace the need to conduct preliminary analysis and ensure constant communication between the client and developer for the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. In the planning and identification phases, the need to optimize on information gathered, especially the objectives to be realized by the system is highlighted. Additionally, the design phase between the two models also elicits similarities. The two models rely on analysis, although the latter does not provide a higher prominence when compared to the seven-step model, which assumes analysis as a phase in the system development process (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014).

Contrastingly, the four-step model considers the elimination of risk in the system establishment as the focus in defining the success of a system. This varies with the seven-step model that considers the adoption of the client needs into the system as the focus. As such, the four-step system ensures preliminary evaluation of risks in each phase. The review process in the four-step model is engaged at each phase. This is different to the seven-step that tends to review the project during the maintenance stage. As such, maintenance is cheaper in terms of cost and time for the four-step compared to the seven-step. The review explains why the four-step model does not have any phase identified as maintenance iterations (Boehm, 1988). In addition, the high status of the review in the different phases optimizes the ability of the developer to minimize any risk that might destabilize the organization. Thus, the system is developed in accordance with the inherent risks within the organization. Therefore, easy to customize the system to suit the needs of the organization.


Balaji, S., & Murugaiyan, M. S. (2012). Waterfall vs. V-Model vs. Agile: A comparative study on SDLC. International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management, 2(1), 26-30.

Boehm, B. W. (1988). A spiral model of software development and enhancement. Computer, 21(5), 61-72.

Boehm, B., Lane, J. A., Koolmanojwong, S., & Turner, R. (2014). The incremental commitment spiral model: Principles and practices for successful systems and software. Addison-Wesley Professional.

Hoffer, J. A. (2012). Modern Systems Analysis and Design, 6/e. Pearson Education India.

Leau, Y. B., Loo, W. K., Tham, W. Y., & Tan, S. F. (2012). Software development life cycle AGILE vs traditional approaches. In International Conference on Information and Network Technology (Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 162-167).

Rosenblatt, H. J. (2013). Systems Analysis and Design. Cengage Learning.

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Project Management Constraints

Project Management Constraints

Efficient project management has become one of the most popular tools for both private and public organizations as project handlers have sought ways to improve their operations. Project managers seek to achieve success across all sectors when handling a project. Technological advancement, new product development and streamlining of business perspectives are examples of targets set by project managers. During the inception of a project, there is the careful planning, organizing and prioritizing available resources achieving the desired outcome or the projected results in the least. At the inception stage, a project seeks to achieve the set target within minimal time while using the least amount of resources. However, every project manager faces challenges during the implementation of a project. Such challenges arise from the presence of different constraints within project management.

Background of the study

Even though a project manager prefers to achieve success all through, there are instances where resources allocated become minimal. Timeframe awarded to a project may also exceed leading to the scope of a project taking a new approach. Project constraints hinder project success hence the need to address each constraint. Despite the fact that project constraints are not consistent, schedule, resources and quality seem to be popularly present hindering success. The omnipresence of these three constraints has led to the name triple constraints, and this research study will address these constraints discussing how they affect project success (Kendrick, 2009).

Making a project successful within the triple constraint proves to be a challenge for every project manager. Regardless of whether its quality, resources or time, the three elements have the notion of working in tandem manner. Significantly, the absence or scarcity of one of these elements adversely affects the triumphant completion of projects. An efficient project manager comprehends that the main key of achieving success for a project entails the balancing of the triple constraints (Dobson, 2004).

Research methodology

The research methodology involved entails a presenting approach adopted within the study. Careful analysis of the triple constraints will be presented. The analysis will involve illustrations of various ways in which such project constraints affect the successful completion of a project. The approach taken will require meeting the expectations of the constraints of project management. The approach taken requires meeting the expectations of constraints in project management. Such entails the researcher to espouse a comprehensive research methodology enabling the understanding of project constraints adverse effects.


In order to remain consistent with this research, there is the approach of extensive methodologies adopted to assist readers in achieving the required results. There were appropriate considerations of projects that have failed or succeeded. Essential to this study, it is significant for a project manager to identify basic project management aspects in order to determine the purpose of a project. Such allows the understanding of project constraints leading to identifying ways of overcoming the constraints (Russell, 2011).

Project Constraint – Quality and Scope

Functions, features, content and data all constitute the scope of work to be done for any project. In order to achieve quality for any piece of work to be done, a project manager is required to provide a precise and specific statement identifying the desired final result of the project undertaken (Dobson, 2004). Every project should have a well-defined and articulate scope of work. However, it is essential to note that the scope of a project is dependent on the output quality. The output quality is essential since it ensures that a project scope is achievable.

Notable to this research, project scope requires effective planning, use of available resources, and proficient management techniques achieving the set target. Failure to adhere to such aspects will frequently lead to project failure. Mandatory for any project manager, changing the scope halfway through the project is suicidal, and often leads to project failure. Nonetheless, every project requires minor changes that are permissible during implementation in order to ensure success (Kendrick, 2009).

The quality of work done is dependent on a project manager’s understanding of project outcomes. Prior to proceeding on with a project, the client will usually have issued instructions on the expected outcome of an assignment. Nonetheless, several prospects of divergence will ensue regarding the necessity to stabilize around the existent resources. A competent project manager has the ability, and resources to cultivate success among projects undertaken. Organizations need to realize the significance of succeeding in projects as these increases their clientele base.

The project manager should have subdivisions that enable tasks undertaken within an organization (Goodpasture, 2004). There are assorted personnel dealing with the diversified projects. For instance, the manager is responsible for overseeing that the objective of the project is realized. The manager is also responsible for directing vast and significant decisions to avoid project failure. Executing this in a resourceful manner requires the program manager to ensure discipline and order is present among supervisors and other member staff.

Project Constraint – Time and Scheduling

Being the primary consideration, time management should be analyzed to the smallest detail. A competent project manager realizes the essentiality of analyzing the required time, and component to ensure successful completion of a project (Dobson, 2004). After careful analysis, each of the components is broken down in order to assign specified amount of time for handling a particular task. A project undertaken requires such aspects since they allow the estimation of a period with which the project can be undertaken. Apart from the estimation of the project period, resources required are identified to ensure success.

Despite the three constraints having a correlation to one another, time management within a project is seen as a diverse unit. Such view is alongside the realization that proper execution of any project within the allocated time is dependent on circumstances and efficient techniques. Project failure may occur despite the project manager having allocated a specific timeframe for each task. Failure can occur should there be exact resources to handle a project (Goodpasture, 2004). Abrupt emergencies may require the use of more resources in handling scrupulous tasks, leading to limited resources. The limitations of resources will often lead to an extended time-frame for a project risking failure (Russell, 2011).

Project Management Constraints
Project Management Constraints

Most project failures have resulted from undermining time allocated to different tasks. However, this often occurs when a project manager is unfamiliar with tasks undertaken. Failure of a project will frequently arise from unexpected events, risks and uncertainties. If the project manager is deemed to be inexperienced, the rise of potential risks will prolong the previously allocated time. Present in most projects undertaken, there ought to be an effective organization, proper restructuring and estimation techniques. Such will ensure that time is managed in an effective manner reducing the risk of failure for undertaken projects.

Project constraint – Cost and Resources

A competent project manager realizes that success of a project is compliant with the readiness and available resources. Even though time has been allocated to different tasks, it is also essential to allocate needed resources to complete the tasks at hand. However, providing the needed resources requires a project manager to have the capital needed to acquire the necessities. Such aspects require wholesome efforts on all levels of accountability. Ranging from casual workers, permanent employees, middle and top level managers, successful project completion requires collaborated efforts from parties involved. Realizing that resources like manpower are the most essential in achieving success, a resourceful project manager ought to ensure that the needs and requirements of labour present is met. Resources pose as the greatest risk in project failure (Wysocki, 2011). There are variables present like rate of materials, machinery and equipment, labour expenses which determine success or failure of a project.

Depending on market prices, the rate of materials seems to be at a constant change requiring the individual assigned to be per with the new prices. The new prices of different prices lead to subsequent changes in quality. There ought to be available capital to purchase high quality materials. For instance in building constructions, it is paramount to purchase quality materials, and failure to do so has a definite chance of project failure resulting from building collapse (Goodpasture, 2004). The purchase of machinery and equipment is also determined by price ranges within the market. However, in order to ensure success, there needs to be the use of high quality machinery and equipment.

Project running is comparative to embrowning a project plan comprehensive of the scrupulous objectives and missions. In addition, there ought to be a quantification of the assets required, the accounts should be indomitable within a timeline that is set. There is the existence of a variety of gear that is essential in making projects undertaken to be successful. The responsibilities of the manger should be as minimal as possible to avoid exhaustion from too much pressure to perform. Essential to this study, it is essential to identify different project phases and measure the success. However, the project manager should ensure that the manpower available is well taken care of since they are the success of any organization.


The prioritization of the constraints within a project is the foremost task needed to be undertaken by a project manager. In addition to the development of strategies in the management of multiple constraints, it is also instrumental that a project manager effectively maintains communication with the client. This ensures that they are both on the same page and that the client’s expectations are being met. Additionally, any competent project manager must ensure that they have a thorough knowledge of project management skills. This greatly assists them in being able to effectively and efficiently cater for any unforeseen project constraints. The act of balancing a project’s responsibilities is facilitated by the project manager’s ability to chart, analyze and implement it. This is because the project manager is aware of and has experience with a project’s concurrent risks.


Dobson, M, S. (2004). The Triple Constraints in Project Management. Arizona: Management Concepts.

Goodpasture, J, C. (2004). Quantitative methods in project management. Arizona: J. Ross Publishing.

Heldman, K. (2011). PMP Project Management Professional Exam Study Guide. USA: John Wiley & Sons

Kendrick, T. (2009). Identifying and Managing Project Risk: Essential Tools for Failure-Proofing Your Project. Phoenix: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

Russell, D. (2011). Succeeding in the Project Management Jungle: How to Manage the People Side of Projects. Phoenix: AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn.

Wysocki, R, K. (2011). Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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Project Management Standardization

Standardization of Project Management

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Poor project performance has led to industry calling for Standardized Project Management tools, yet it is the organizations themselves who have chosen to overlook or ignore the tools while implementing organization strategy that exists for their assistance. This paper investigates the implications change management practices have on individuals as a result of strategy change, whilst challenging the poor Project Management knowledge and understanding of individuals within project based organizations. It also identifies the currently poor application of Project Management theory including the alarming levels of academic qualifications many practicing Project Managers currently hold. The purpose of the dissertation was to explore this call for standardization by conducting a review of the knowledge, understanding and opinions of individuals regarding: change management implications of organization strategy implementation; and organizations? application of Project Management theory.

Project Management Standardization
Project Management Standardization

However, while conducting the review, offering discussion points or arguments, it is important to recognize when talking about Project Management Standardization, it is not an exact science and there are several fundamental floors such as the theory is relatively abstract and many parameters are difficult to be measured as they are usually based upon the opinion of industry personnel with predetermined beliefs. The aim of the dissertation was to identify and understand evolving management theory and how it aligns with organization strategy as it was believed that with such a large amount of capital being spent on projects, organizations did not place a high enough level of priority on Project Management processes or academic qualifications. Whether this is a result of ignorance, or just a pure lack of understanding of the implications on the behalf of executive level management, was the basis for discussion throughout the dissertation. Finally projects are aimed solely at either increasing profit in line with organizational mission requirements or increasing efficiency through productivity. So the dissertation is written with the intention of raising awareness to improve project performance and not just to highlight organizational short comings. The dissertation aim is to investigate how evolving Project Management theory, organizational strategy and change management implementation and Project Management academic levels influence individual’s perceptions and actions within project based organizations.

Project Management Standardization Dissertation Objectives

  • To identify and introduce evolving management theory
  • To analyze the role that Project Management has within organizations strategic management processes
  • To investigate the level of understanding individuals within organizations have of Project Management processes
  • To investigate the academic levels of individuals within project based positions
  • Conduct a questionnaire based on the aims, objectives, and literature review formulating a strategic set of questions to challenge senior managers with an interview in relation to the concerning trends

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