Complexity and Project Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Research


1University of Cantabria, Cantabria, Spain

2University of A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain

3Universidad de A Coruña, A Coruña, Spain

4University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK

Complexity and Project Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Research


Understanding complexity is of significant importance for project managers because of the differences associated with decision-making and goal attainment that are related to complex projects. Projects have become more and more complex because of the increasing factors that are considered source of complexity and affect the project management process. Factors are such as a large amount of required resources, a turbulent environment, working on the edge of technology, a large number and diversity of actors working and communicating with each other, the different experience of the groups that joint the effort in a project or the degree to which these groups are independent when defining the operations.

The importance of complexity to the project management process is widely acknowledged for several reasons. It influences project planning, coordination, and control, it can affect the selection of an appropriate project organization form and experience requirements of project managers, or it can be used as a criterion in the selection of a suitable project management arrangement. Complexity hinders the clear identification of project goals. How well defined are these goals and how well defined are the methods of achieving these goals are of paramount importance to complete the project within the agreed performance criteria and project outcomes of any industry.

Complex projects demand an exceptional level of management and the application of the traditional tools and techniques developed for ordinary projects have been found to be inappropriate for complex projects. We invite researchers in the global project management community to contribute original research articles as well as review articles and empirical studies that will stimulate the debate in the topic.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • What is project complexity and what are the underlying notions behind this concept?
  • What types of projects can be considered as complex projects? Are megaprojects complex projects?
  • What factors make a project complex? How can these factors be identified and evaluated?
  • How do these factors contribute to complexity not only across different sectors but also across different geographical locations?
  • How can project complexity be interpreted and measured?
  • What are the links between project complexity and project performance?
  • How can project managers deal with complex projects?
  • Can complexity in projects be addressed from a cross-disciplinary approach?


  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2019
  • - Article ID 6979721
  • - Editorial

Complexity and Project Management: Challenges, Opportunities, and Future Research

José R. San Cristóbal | Emma Diaz | ... | Gregorio Iglesias
  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2018
  • - Article ID 4891286
  • - Review Article

Complexity and Project Management: A General Overview

José R. San Cristóbal | Luis Carral | ... | Gregorio Iglesias
  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2018
  • - Article ID 3246508
  • - Research Article

Comparing Project Complexity across Different Industry Sectors

Marian Bosch-Rekveldt | Hans Bakker | Marcel Hertogh
  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2018
  • - Article ID 9496731
  • - Research Article

Exploring Project Complexity through Project Failure Factors: Analysis of Cluster Patterns Using Self-Organizing Maps

Vicente Rodríguez Montequín | Joaquín Villanueva Balsera | ... | Francisco Ortega Fernández
  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2018
  • - Article ID 3190251
  • - Research Article

Strategies for Managing the Structural and Dynamic Consequences of Project Complexity

Serghei Floricel | Sorin Piperca | Richard Tee
  • Special Issue
  • - Volume 2018
  • - Article ID 6058480
  • - Research Article

Measuring the Project Management Complexity: The Case of Information Technology Projects

Rocio Poveda-Bautista | Jose-Antonio Diego-Mas | Diego Leon-Medina
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