About this online course


Develop the project management skills required to handle complexity in engineering, infrastructure and other large projects.

Underestimating project complexity is widely accepted as one of the major causes of project failure. International studies reveal that a staggering 40% of projects fail to deliver on their promises. (1)

As with most external factors, many of the causes and consequences of complexity are difficult to avoid or control. Therefore, attempts to overcome these challenges by simply trying to reduce their causes is not enough.

Conventional project management practices often overlook the nuanced uncertainties inherent in engineering and infrastructure projects, usually linked to their length and scale. This is further exacerbated by the constantly changing technological and societal landscape.

In this course, you will learn our approach to mastering complexity, focused on front-end development and teamwork as catalysts for success. This will help you develop the skills you need to make timely actions to tackle complexities and improve your chances of project success.

Our hands-on approach
Project success starts with recognizing the main drivers of complexity, which can be highly subjective and highly dynamic. In this course, you will learn to identify what makes a project complex and how to perform a complexity assessment.

Examining the elements of a project – such as interfaces, stakeholders, cultures, environment, technology, etc. – and their intricate interactions is key to mastering complexity.

You will analyze these elements in the context of your own project. Then, based on our complexity framework, you will identify the complexity footprint of your project and use it to adapt your management processes. With personalized guidance and feedback from our world-class instructors, you will learn how to recognize what competencies you need to develop project plans, how to adapt your management style accordingly, thus not only improving project performance but also enhancing your own decision-making capacity.

“Being aware of complexity and embracing it might be the way forward” – Associate Professor Marian Bosch-Rekveldt

New cases and activities
The demands of project management in engineering are continually evolving. In response to this, several enhancements have been made to this course, and new examples are presented not only to enhance your project management skills but also to empower you so that you can thrive in complex project environments.

Our project management courses
This course is part of our Engineering Project Management series. It is an ideal course for learners who want to build on the basic knowledge gained in the course Project Management of Engineering Projects: Preparing for Success and want to better navigate the complex challenges posed by engineering and other large projects. This series also offers a complementary course on Project Finance: Funding Projects Successfully.

(1) Merrow, 2010

What you'll learn

  • Identify complexity and its elements
  • Perform a project complexity assessment
  • Develop a complexity footprint
  • Adapt your management processes to fit the complexities of your project
  • Master project complexity


Course syllabus

Module 1: Understanding project complexity
This module introduces the program with some questions to help you understand project complexity. What does it entail? What is it comprised of? What are the main models of complexity? What is the (subjective) nature of complexity?

Module 2: Project complexity assessment
You will create a complexity footprint for your own project. You will use the Technology-Organization-Environment (TOE) framework as a means to grasp project complexity. There will be an emphasis on identifying, assessing and understanding project complexity at the earliest possible stages.

Module 3: Managing project complexity
Now that you are aware of the project’s complexity, we will discuss how to manage the particular complexities faced. We will provide a palette of different management approaches. You will compare these approaches with the way your own project has been managed.

Module 4: Mastering complexity
And finally, we will discuss how to adjust your management approach to the specific complexities experienced (or expected) and how to maximize the value of your project. This is not about decreasing complexity but rather dealing with complexity and embracing it to fully realize the project’s potential. One size does not fit all!

Module 5: Wrap-up and peer review
During the last module of the course you will have time to reflect on the course and you will review your peers’ work.


This is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that runs on edX.


Together with our course on Project Finance, this course builds on the basic project management knowledge and capabilities acquired from our MOOC Project Management of Engineering Projects: Preparing for Success. To fully benefit from the Mastering Complexity course, this MOOC and/or any other equivalent knowledge on this subject is regarded as prerequisite.

  • Starts: Mar 12, 2025
  • Free | Earn certificate for $199
  • Group fee: contact us
  • Length: 5 weeks
  • Effort: 4 - 6 hours per week

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