Project Complexity Workbook

This page reflects ideas that I am currently investigating and is a partial copy of my research notebook. Be warned this is pretty unstructured and raw.

Investigating deep project dynamics using a network model

The way we represent projects is one dimensional, gantt charts, WBS and time series of specific parameters. I want to explore a project model that allows us to visualise the true complexity of the project’s dynamic behaviour. This will be a scale of dynamic behaviour  that we do not perceive, but it represents the most fundamental dynamics of the project at the smallest meaningful scale.
To do this I am going to model a project as a dynamic process network. Through this model I believe we may be able to start to understand how different approaches to software delivery affect the dynamic behaviour and from this start to identify the best approaches to moderating their behaviour.
This is all part of a long term investigation into project modelling and links in with my work on simulating feedback.
The basic  premise of the project network is based upon the fact that each person can only be doing one thing at a time.
The model will assume that at any point in time a member of the project team will be actively involved in progressing a process step that is part of a bigger process.
A person may have many open process steps but they have to task switch between them.
There will be interactions between people executing their process steps depending upon the relationships between the steps.
Because a process step is part of a hierarchy of processes there will be inputs and outputs at each level or scale or process.
At the process step level the interaction is usually between the project team members and in the form of informational transfer.
At higher levels the output from processes is more generic and is again information flow but much of it is in terms of project deliverables.
The input information may, or may not influence the dynamics of the process step and this influence will be propagated to the various levels of process within the network.
Our project is then a network of nodes within nodes, with each node representing a scale of process, so for example here is a part of the network showing all potential nodes and interactions (edges).

full project network 1

 

But at a moment in time only part of this network can be active due to the one person active in one process rule. There may also be processes that are not active because an external influence has deactivated them and other processes that are inactive because they are planned future processes.
project network at moment in time 1In this case Business representative (B) can only be working on one process step and so other interactions and step processes are not active.
It may also be that the test process has not been activated through the planning.
Also developer 1 (D1) has been deactivated due to an external influence.
The dynamics of a project would then look like a pulsating network of nodes and interconnections.

 

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