Complex Project Management is defined as the lifecycle delivery of emergent strategic outcomes through projects which are usually adaptive system of systems; have high uncertainty in scope definition; are distributed; have ongoing environmental and internal turbulence; are implemented through wave planning; and are unable to be decomposed to elements with clearly defined boundaries.

Complex Project Management not only delivers organisations the capability to project manage highly complex projects in pluralist environments, but just as importantly, it delivers a strategic capability to organisations and governments in the management of their ongoing businesses. These Complex Project Manager Competency Standards lay the foundation for project management to effectively deal with complex projects, and in doing so, to add real value to our world. They recognise that complex projects require additional competencies to those required for traditional projects. In particular, these Standards provide a framework that can be used not only to develop the full potential of emerging project managers, but also to provide a higher level of competence to which existing project managers can aspire.

The Complex Project Managers Competency Standard has two sections:
Section 1 provides the underlying research to the Standards, and is based upon the work of Prof Dr David H

Dombkins (2007) Complex Project Management.
Section 2 contains the Complex Project Managers Competency Standards. The Standards:

  • bring together seminal research from a broad range of research including: strategy, anthropology, change, organisational design, organisational behaviour, culture, law, economics, leadership, cognition, sociology, psychology, ethics, politics, communication, systems, chaos, philosophy, motivation, quality, innovation, and complexity.
  • are evolving – ICCPM is collaborating with the international project management community to continually collect and review other work on complex project management and related areas to broaden and strengthen the research base and provide input into future revisions of this standard
  • are designed to operate across sectors – in each sector there are sector specific competencies and underpinning knowledge which is not included in the standardsThe Standards specify the competencies, Underpinning Knowledge, and Special Attributes for Traditional, Executive and Complex Project Managers. However, the Standards are not intended to define competency standards for the certification of Traditional and Executive Project Managers. Reference for the certification of Traditional and Executive Project Managers should be made to bodies such as IPMA, PMI, and other national entities.

    Prof Dr David H Dombkins