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The nature of risk in complex projects

Williams, Terry



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, motivations of project actors, and socio-political project complexities as well as intra-connectedness and feedback. Common practice based upon decomposition-type methods is shown often to point to the wrong risks. A complexity structure is used to identify systemicity and draws lessons about key risks. We describe how to analyse the systemic nature of risk, and how contractor / client can understand ramifications of their actions.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2017
Journal Project management journal
Print ISSN 8756-9728
Electronic ISSN 1938-9507
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 48
Issue 4
Pages 55-66
Institution Citation Williams, T. (2017). The nature of risk in complex projects. Project management journal, 48(4), 55-66
Keywords Complexity, Systems thinking, Risk, Project risk analysis, Mapping
Publisher URL
Additional Information Copy of article first published in: Project management journal, 2017, v.48, issue 4


Article.pdf (445 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2017 by the Project Management Institute

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