A study of project categorisation based on project management complexity

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Published Version.

Aitken, A., & Crawford, L. (2007). A study of project categorisation based on project management complexity. Paper presented at the International Research Network for Organizing by Projects conference (IRNOP VIII), Brighton, United Kingdom.

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2007 HERDC submission.

© Copyright Alicia Aitken & Lynn Crawford, 2007


This study explores the use of project complexity categorisation as a means of understanding and applying the competencies required to manage projects across a portfolio of project types including projects of an innovative nature. The data for this study includes one hundred and twenty project descriptions and ratings of complexity by project managers of their current (or most recent) project according to project management complexity factors developed to support global project management competency standards. The data was collected as part of a global study into project management competence, complexity and behaviours conducted over the course of 2005 and 2006. This paper also includes an analysis of the validity of self assessment of project complexity against the project management complexity factors. This component relied on fifty-five self ratings that were subsequently assessed by a workplace assessor as part of a face-to-face interview. Themes explored include the notion that complexity categorisation is influenced by the type of project being managed, the industry the organisation operates in and whether the project is internal or external to the organisation. Understanding the complexity of projects is the first step to understanding how to match the most effective group of competencies to projects with varied complexity drivers within a portfolio.


This document has been peer reviewed.