01YP: Managing Project Complexity


Most major projects fail.  The average major project overruns budget by 33%. The average schedule overrun is 25% (about 1 year), and the average achieved production < 80% of nameplate.

Why does this happen?  One important reason is that our major projects are more complex than we are capable of managing;  more complex technically, but especially more complex politically and socially.

What is complexity?  A simple definition is that complexity is a region on the continuum between simple and chaotic.

Simple systems have few nodes and little connectivity between nodes.  Complicated systems have more nodes and they are more connected, but it is possible to divide the system into independent subsystems.  Complex and chaotic systems feature multiple nodes and multiple interconnections between subsystems.  It is not possible to cleanly divide a complex system into subsystems.

We are fortunate that the science of complexity is well-developed.  This presentation will cover the basics of the science of complexity and identify some things we can  do to combat complexity and make our projects more managable. 

Complexity has been identified as a Hot Topic by the SPEI Technical Directors.  The author is leading the study of the topic for the Board. 

The takeaway idea:  Technical and non-technical complexity are now major contributors to project failure.  We are fortunate in the fact that there is great deal of active research compelted and ongoing on the science of complexity.  This lecture seeks to expose the attendees to this research.  


Registration & Walk-ins 

All attendees are encouraged to register and pay online for this event. Walk-in's will be available for $30 per person.

PLEASE NOTE:  $5 has automatically been added to the registration price as a donation to the SPE-GCS Scholarship Fund.  If you would like to opt out of donating this amount to the SPE-GCS Scholarship Fund, please enter OptOut in the Discount Code field and click Check Discount to apply the code. The code is case sensitive. 


Parking & Directions

Street parking is available on Louisiana Street and Smith Street for free after 6 pm. Please proceed to the main entrance of 1500 Louisiana Street Chevron building. The auditorium is located all the way to the left as you enter the building. If unsure, there are security personnel who can direct you to the auditorium. 

 Chevron 1500 Parking


Location: Chevron Building - Auditorium
1500 Louisiana St
Houston , TX 77002

Date: April 13, 2017, 6:30 p.m. - April 13, 2017, 8:30 p.m.