The purpose of this paper is to facilitate further understanding of project complexity by highlighting the factors contributing to project complexity as reported by the practitioners facing the “actuality” of projects.
A qualitative research approach was undertaken by conducting semi‐structured interviews with the primary focus on the aerospace industry. Participants are involved in a variety of project settings, exhibiting different types and levels of complexity.
Analysis of responses highlights “people” issues as the main factor contributing to project complexity and the importance of soft skills in managing complex projects.
The research is based on a limited number of respondents from the aerospace sector. This will be further refined and improved upon by compiling views of additional practitioners involved in multiple aerospace projects.
The main research conclusions are that “hard” project management skills help to organise, plan and manage, and track changes during the course of the project. However, understanding of project complexity and its contributing factors helps practitioners to understand the dynamic, social and complex contexts of projects, thus highlighting the importance of “soft” skills.
This paper proposes the “project complexity triangle – people, product and process”, highlighting their importance as the three major areas contributing to project complexity.
Azim, S., Gale, A., Lawlor‐Wright, T., Kirkham, R., Khan, A. and Alam, M. (2010), "The importance of soft skills in complex projects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 387-401. https://doi.org/10.1108/17538371011056048
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