Five Dimensions of project management: Engineering, Schedule, Cost and Context and Finance.


Our global landscape for projects is affected through volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous influences permanently. Thus, these influences need to be framed in order to manage construction projects successfully.

Challenges of mega construction projects.

At least, large-scale construction projects may clearly be defined as complex projects. Complex projects differ through the extent of disorder, instability, emergence, nonlinearity, recursiveness, uncertainty, irregularity and randomness. In other words, the terms below frame relevant characteristics that have to be involved in each complex project’s planning purposes.

  • Hierarchy: large systems having subsystems which have subsystems and so on

  • Communication: information passed through elements belonging to the systems

  • Control: supervision in order to protect strength of the systems

  • Emergence: appearance of new, not predictable system influencing factors

  • Phase transition: likelihood and speed of the system to react to change

  • Non-linearity: opposite of control, seizing opportunities causing positive change

  • Adaptiveness: likelihood and proactivity to adapt to new conditions

  • Sensitive dependence on initial conditions or butterfly effect

With traditional project management tools such as the ‘iron triangle’, project managers assess a project’s success through a relation and interaction between cost, time or schedule and technical aspects or scope. In the past construction projects, in other words, routine construction projects were often classified through these three dimensions. With respect to today’s influences in terms of relational, cultural and stakeholder aspects, complex projects necessitate a more holistic approach when assessing a construction project management’s success. In particular, the three factors model is extended by context and financing. Recent research supports the occurrence of the five aforementioned dimensions. The figure below illustrates the findings of methods and tools associated to the five dimensions applied to 18 complex construction projects with an average investment of USD 1,51 billion.


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