Change Complexity Analysis seeks to identify how difficult a change project
will be. The more complex the project, the more carefully the project will need
to be managed.
Complexity may be plotted along two axes: task complexity and people
complexity. The resultant position may lead to very
different approaches to
managing the change.
Start by identifying the complexity of the task involved in the change
without considering the people issues. This is
Some of the factors which affect task complexity are indicated in the table
Number of tasks
The more things there are to do, the more complex managing
the whole show is.
Variety of tasks
If there are lots of similar tasks then similar tools,
management methods, etc. may be used.
Complexity of tasks
More difficult tasks require greater attention and have
more ways to fail. It also makes it more difficult to verify.
Verifiability of work
If you can't see what has been done then it is difficult
to track progress and check that things are done right.
Number of locations
Doing the job in many different places makes coordination
more difficult and requires more travel.
Interdependencies between tasks
When one change depends on others or can affect many things, it is more
complex than when changes are independent of one another.
When time is limited, there is no time to correct errors.
When money is tight, you may be limited in such as the
quality of what is used.
When quality requirements are high, then there are more
ways to get it wrong.
The major additional complexity that change projects add over other projects
is the potential problems around people. It is thus important to consider the
people complexity separately from the task complexity.
Some of the factors which affect people complexity are indicated in the table
More people means more communication -- and geometrically
so as potential conversations rise with the square of the numbers of
Different people means different languages, different
cultures, different ‘political correctness’, etc.
When people are emotionally not ready for the change, then
the shock of the change will make them dysfunctional for longer.
When people are split into many different social groups
then each group may well require a different approach.
If the prevailing political style is divisive and devious
then change will be far more difficult.
If the balance of power must change then those that hold
power are likely to fight to hold onto it.
If those who are legitimizing the change do not give their
full and visible support, then people affected by the change will also be
When you are doing something new, it is more difficult if
you are repeating a change you have done before.
If the change plans are uncertain and unstable then there
is likely be more discomfort as well as more arguments.
If people must change beliefs, values, etc. (such as in
culture change) then this is more difficult than simple change of
If the people managing the change have not done this
before then they may lack the ability to do this effectively.