Evaluation of Project Complexity – Airline Industry Survey

Context Project Complexity

While the evaluation of project complexity presents an important aspect for today´s project success and therefore various systematic approaches exist, there is only little information available, how broadly these have been adopted by airlines and their industry business partners.


The objective of the survey and its report is to discover whether airlines evaluate complexity systematically and how such evaluation is implemented at a corporate level. Furthermore, typical use cases are addressed exploring a potential issue through subjective evaluation approaches, the effort and minimum experience required to practically perform an evaluation and whether there is a need to suggest an improved approach.

The outcome will allow for additional insights on the organizational maturity level of the participating companies, their commercial manifestation (by the count of PAX, employees) and how this relates to their way of evaluating project complexity.


Exploratory survey with qualitative and quantitative components. The questionnaire includes 22 questions addressing the main subject. These are designed based on the author’s professional field experiences, research expert support and common literature. The report preliminarily is descriptive and shows the summarized questions and responses. Partly, it is accommodated with concluding assumptions and additional information.

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Evaluation of Project Complexity at Airlines – Survey Report

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Project Complexity Assessment (PCA) Tool

The Project Complexity Assessment (PCA) tool, described in the book ‘Project Complexity Assessment’¹ is targeted at the earliest lifecycle phases to give a quick indication of potential areas needing attention. It involves senior project team members independently completing a structured on-line 60-element questionnaire designed to quantify the level of the two orthogonal Complexity drivers: Capability drivers, which are relevant to the organisation and the individuals who make up the project team; and Project-specific drivers (what is complex in any one given situation is not necessarily so in different circumstances). The results are combined, analysed and presented back in a workshop environment, in which anomalous assessments may be discussed and resolved; an accommodated Project Complexity measure agreed; and areas of significant weakness/risk documented.

Download of the Excel tool:

Complexity Assessment questions without weightings.xls

¹Cavanagh, Michael. Project Complexity Assessment (Kindle Locations 569-576). ICCPM. Kindle Edition.

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