9. Why is project management so complicated?

If you review many of the international project management standards as well as many of the project management courses, you will see a great degree of complexity. Standards have evolved over time to meet the demands of increasingly complex requirements of project management. I can see the need for such complexity with large detailed projects such as systems development and implementation. The question I raise is, has all this complexity confused and deterred the basics of sound project management particularly in smaller businesses?

In my view, project complexity is a continuum. At the one extreme are the complex projects requiring structured and complex project management, for example, IT projects. At the other extreme are projects that require flexibility in the approach to project management. Such projects would include strategic projects around which there is uncertainty often requiring frequent re-planning.

Just as there are wide varieties of projects at different levels of complexity, there are project managers who feel more comfortable with different types of projects. For example, I am more conformable in the unstructured segment of the continuum.

So what does this all have to do with a small business owner?

Project management is a core skill that nearly all managers should have in their skills arsenal. Don’t be put off by the complexity you see in standards and in training courses. These complexities have their place but start simply by getting to know the core elements of project management. Once you have mastered the basics, you can bring in the complexities as they are required. Similarly, don’t over complicate your projects with trying to meet all the requirements of a project management standard. Many of the elements of standards might not be applicable to your project.

In simplifytom.com we define a simple approach to project management, highlighting those elements that are essential to nearly all projects. Find out more by becoming a subscriber.