Project Management Institute

The Nature Of Risk In Complex Projects

Risk analysis is important for complex projects; however, systemicity makes evaluating risk in real projects difficult. Looking at the causal structure of risks is a start, but causal chains need to include management actions, the motivations of project actors, and socio-political project complexities as well as intra-connectedness and feedback. Common practice based upon decomposition-type methods is often shown to point to the wrong risks. A complexity structure is used to identify systemicity and draws lessons about key risks. We describe how to analyze the systemic nature of risk and how the contractor and client can understand the ramifications of their actions.
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