Applying Multi-Methodology Systems Theory to Project Management

Tim Haslett, Shankar Sankaran


This paper begins with the proposition that most project managers are dealing with complex systems. Complex systems are defined as systems with numerous stakeholders, nonlinearities, multiple interdependencies and feedback systems. Typical nonlinearities are often unanticipated changes in the scope of the project, the dismissal of project managers, shedding people with critical labour skills or the termination of credit arrangements with banks. The interdependencies are the relationships between project management, the suppliers and contractors, the clients and the other stakeholders. The feedback systems most common to the success and failure of project management are the rework cycles and their impact on both the demand for labour and the final budget and completion date. The paper outlines a methodology for project management that integrates a number of systems thinking tools into the project management process.


Systems Theory, Soft Systems, System Dynamics, Project Management

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