Research Focuses, Trends, and Major Findings on Project Complexity

A Bibliometric Network Analysis of 50 Years of Project Complexity Research

This article analyzes the project complexity research field using bibliometric analysis. The field evolved in three waves (prior to 1985, between 1990 and 2004, and after 2005) from several disconnected seminal works, to a more centralized discussion that began based on efforts to characterize and classify complex projects to focus on the developing models and frameworks that, considering aspects of uncertainty and dynamics, supported managers to adapt and manage their projects. The findings suggest that project complexity is defined by dimensions that include structural, uncertainty, novelty, dynamics, pace, social-political, and regulative. The findings also suggest that the focus is changing from project control to project adaptability, and it is necessary to develop capabilities to manage complex projects, not only in the organization or at the team level, but also through the project's supply chain.
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