Complexity Conquered

To create the most value, don’t (just) focus on the money

Posted by Satya Singh on Nov 23, 2018 1:30:00 PM

Value of an item must not be based on its price, but rather on the utility which it yields” – Daniel Bernoulli

A paradox of traditional project management practices is that project success is most frequently judged through three criteria;

  1. on-time or schedule achievement;
  2. on-budget or cost achievement; and
  3. met requirements criteria or scope achievement;

Yet the reason a project exists is to deliver value, either as benefits or outcomes, to an organisation. So why isn’t benefits realisation consistently part of the project success criteria yet?

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Topics: Project Controls, Project Competencies, "Value Management"

Soft capabilities underpin hard outcomes

Posted by Martin Neep on May 23, 2018 3:43:19 PM

Helmsman recently worked with an Australian resources company with international operations in remote and inhospitable environments.

Effectively managing operations ‘in the field’ is an essential part of this business. Managing their equipment and assets, and ensuring operational efficiency on-site has a direct effect on financial results.


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Topics: Project Performance, Project Controls, Project Competencies, Operating Model

If you're looking for project value through delivery, you're already too late

Posted by Satya Singh on Feb 22, 2018 4:45:22 PM


If I were given one hour to save the planet, I would spend 59 minutes defining the problem, and one minute resolving it” – Albert Einstein

These words aptly represent the problem that exists with the traditional view of project controls - a parochial focus on the Delivery or Implementation stage of a project.

While project delivery is key to realising the value of a project, creating the value occurs primarily in the early stages of a project, and well before delivery gets underway.

Similarly, research suggests that cost of getting the early stages wrong, such as misdiagnosing the business problem, is up to 10 times costlier to an organisation than project implementation failures. In Australia, inaccurate understanding of requirements is the #1 primary cause of project failure (PMI, 2018).

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Topics: Complexity, Project Controls, Project Competencies, PMO

Driving Project Performance at the Victorian Major Projects Conference 2017

Posted by Helmsman Ed on Dec 4, 2017 3:15:01 PM

Our thanks to all who participated and shared at the Victorian Major Projects Conference in Melbourne last week. 

Victoria certainly has some exciting and innovative projects in the works, and a passionate community engaged in delivering them.

We were delighted to be part of this event, and to have Andrew Wegener share our learning on driving project performance.

If you'd like a copy of his presentation, you can get it here

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Topics: Complexity, Project Controls, Project Competencies

The PMO’s leadership role in conquering complexity

Posted by Brad Kerwin on May 2, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Project complexity is most commonly considered by organisations on a project-by-project basis.  This is important as the drivers of complexity are often defined by the unique challenges the project sets out to overcome

However, the Project Management Office (PMO) can play a critical role in extending their organisation’s capability to successfully handle complexity.  Common PMO goals include raising project success rates, effective portfolio planning, growing capability through access to specialist resources, providing cost savings through standardization, and improving project schedule and budget achievement.

The PMO’s view - of multiple projects from the past, those in-flight, and in the pipeline, across different business areas and project types, with qualified success rates - allows PMO’s to make five significant contributions to conquering complexity:

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Topics: Project Performance, Project Controls, Project Competencies, Complexity Cliff, PMO

Is your project going over the complexity cliff?

Posted by Brad Kerwin on Mar 16, 2017 8:00:00 AM

What’s a Complexity Cliff?

Helmsman’s 9-year research into the impact of complexity on project outcomes has uncovered a specific and consistent scenario where the likelihood of project success plummets – The Complexity Cliff.

This finding came from analysis that established an objective and accurate measure for assessing complexity – the Helmsman Complexity Scale. The Complexity Scale is used similar to how the Richter Scale is applied for building projects.

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Topics: Complexity, Project Controls, Project Competencies, Complexity Cliff

Effectively manage project complexity in three steps

Posted by Brad Kerwin on Jan 19, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Knowing your project is complex is one thing. Effectively managing its complexity is something else. In this article, we look at how to manage the complexity in your project.


“The critical first step is understanding the complexity of the project”

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Topics: Complexity, Project Controls, Project Competencies