Concept proofing a proposed early-stage project complexity assessment tool

  • YEAR
    Vaz-Serra, Paulo
    Edwards, Peter
    Aranda-Mena, Guillermo
    2020 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Practice Based & Interdisciplinary Design & Research


Project complexity, as a sub-field of complexity science, is under-researched in terms of what factors contribute to it; how they can be assessed; and what can be done to deal with them. This research proof-tests the concept of a project early stage complexity assessment tool (PESCAT), based upon complexity theory, that uses project differentiation, inter-dependency and uncertainty as measures for subjective assessment. Using focus group workshops comprising a convenience sample of construction professionals, mixed methods research (including opinion survey questionnaire, hypothetical and real-life case studies) is used within a qualitative framework to explore aspects of project complexity and the application of the proposed assessment tool. The findings confirm that an early stage project complexity assessment tool is practicable and can contribute to project management practice in the construction industry. Such a tool should be applied in a small group setting by individual project stakeholders and customised according to their needs and the nature of their involvement. Tool development suggests that four measures (differentiation and its associated uncertainty, and interdependency and its uncertainty) are appropriate measures, provided that they are applied to project perspective factor sets that reflect the construction project management processes of different stakeholders.

Keywords: Project complexity, assessment, project management, construction industry


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