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Thinking project management in the age of complexity : particular implications on project risk management

Abstract : A project is a temporary and unique endeavour undertaken to deliver a result. This result is always a changein the organization, whatever it is in its processes, performance, products or services. Limits and lacks havebeen detected in research as well as in industry about the project predictability, since usual parameters(time, cost and quality) are clearly not sufficient to describe properly the complete situation at a given time.As a whole, current methods have shown their limits, since they cannot face anymore the stakes of evergrowing project complexity, which is an ever growing source of project risks. This Ph.D. thesis aims atthinking project management in the age of complexity and understand how complexity aspects can beintegrated into project management practices, particularly in the case of the project risk managementprocess. After defining concepts, this thesis aims at describing project complexity thanks to the elaborationof a project complexity framework, which is refined thanks to an international Delphi study. This refinedframework is then the basis of an Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) hierarchical structure which permits tobuild a relative project complexity index in order to assist decision-making. For all practical purposes, itnotably permits to focus on the most complex projects within a portfolio or on the most complex zones of aproject in order to assist complex project management. Then, after describing the consequences of projectcomplexity and understanding the limits of existing project risk management processes to cope with somecomplexity-related aspects, this Ph.D. thesis proposes two innovative approaches to assist complex projectrisk management. The first one is based on a systems approach through the introduction of the concept ofproject vulnerability. The second one is mainly based on an analytical approach which aims at clusteringproject risks according to the strength of their interactions (in terms of possible cause-consequence link).Diverse industrial case studies permit to test these proposals (automotive, pharmaceutical, entertainmentand construction industries).
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Ludovic-Alexandre Vidal. Thinking project management in the age of complexity : particular implications on project risk management. Business administration. Ecole Centrale Paris, 2009. English. ⟨NNT : 2009ECAP0047⟩. ⟨tel-00546695⟩

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