Russell Darnall (Darnall 1996) introduced a method that rates characteristics of a project on a scale from 1 to 5. The characteristics are grouped into four categories: external attributes, internal attributes, technology, and project environment. Each category is rated based on the average of the scores of its attributes.
A method of calculating and representing the final Darnall-Preston Complexity Index (DPCI) was added by John Preston and Darnall in this publication to allow the DPCI to be represented by a four-number code. The rules for calculating the DPCI are as follows:
A project can be quickly characterized using the DPCI. For example, a project that is similar in size to previous projects with plenty of time to complete it and with adequate resources available would have a low average external complexity score of 2 (see Table 2.1 "Calculating the DPCI"). If there is significant disagreement among the stakeholders on the objectives and several scope issues are not well defined because there is overlap between responsibilities of groups within the organization, the internal complexity score would be high—4 (see Table 2.1 "Calculating the DPCI"). If the project relies on technology that is fairly new and some of the team members are unfamiliar with it, the average score would be 2.5, rounded up to 3 (see Table 2.1 "Calculating the DPCI"). If the legal and cultural attributes have low complexity, and there is little impact on the project by ecological factors, the average is low—2—in spite of a high complexity score for the effect of politics of the project. In this case, the score is shown in boldface to warn the user that there is an individual score that is at least two points higher than the average, and the details of that category must be investigated.
Table 2.1 Calculating the DPCI
|Internal||Clarity of objectives||4||3.75||4|
|Clarity of scope||3|
|Familiarity of team||3|
The final DPCI in this example is 188.8.131.52, which tells you at a glance that this project has fairly low external complexity, a fairly high degree of internal complexity, and a moderate technological complexity and that a majority of the environmental attributes are low complexity, but at least one of them has a rating of 4 or 5 and needs attention.
Projects with different profiles require different management approaches, applications of different tools, and mitigation of different levels of risk. Information derived from the complexity profile can be used in the selection of the project manager, the project leadership team, and the execution approach to the project and in the analysis of the project risk.
There is no generally agreed-upon project typology or classification system. In this text, we will utilize the DPCI as a tool for analyzing projects and choosing appropriate tools, but the same skills could be used with other taxonomies.
Assume that a project went through the DPCI rating process and it achieved the following scores in each attribute:
Table 2.2 Calculating the DPCI
|Internal||Clarity of objectives||1|
|Clarity of scope||4|
Start a spreadsheet program such as Excel 2010. Refer to Table 2.2 "Calculating the DPCI" and then type the category and subcategory labels into the first two columns and the scores in column C. Some of the labels will appear to be cut off if there is not enough width to display the entire label, as shown in Figure 2.9 "Labels in a Spreadsheet".
Move the mouse pointer to the boundary between the headers of columns A and B, where it turns into a double-headed pointer. Double-click the boundary to automatically adjust the column width to the widest label, as shown in Figure 2.10 "Adjust Column Width". Alternatively, drag the boundary to the right to adjust the column width manually.
Click cell D13. Notice the formula displays in the formula bar, as shown in Figure 2.11 "Adjusted Column Widths and Average Functions" (You may ignore the alert boxes or notations due to the unused cells in column D.)
Use the skill you practiced in the previous step to calculate the rounded values for each category. Click cell E13 to display the ROUND function in the formula bar, as shown in Figure 2.12 "Round Function Rounds to the Nearest Whole Number". Notice the ROUND function in cell E9 rounded the number 2.5 up to 3. This is the method used for rounding in the DPCI.
Click cell C16. On the formula bar, select the 2 and then on the ribbon (or formatting toolbar) click the Bold button. The rating for environmental complexity is emphasized with bold font to indicate there is a significantly higher individual rating that should be considered, as shown in Figure 2.13 "Ratings That Contain Higher Individual Ratings Are Bold".
Review your word processing file, Ch02DPCIStudentName.doc and use the following rubric to determine its adequacy:
|File name||Ch02DPCIStudentName.doc||Word 2010 .docx version||Other file name or format|
|Calculate and interpret the DPCI||Sequence of screen captures shows the development of the spreadsheet||One or two screens taken out of the exact sequence described; student name displayed clearly in each of the development screens||Only one image of the finished spreadsheet; development by the student not proven|
Review your spreadsheet file, Ch02DPCIStudentName.xls, and use the following rubric to determine its adequacy:
|File name||Ch02DPCIStudentName.xls||Excel 2010 version using .xlsx||Other file name|
|Calculate and interpret the DPCI||AVERAGE and ROUND functions used correctly; bold feature used correctly||AVERAGE and ROUND functions not in the cells specified but used the correct ranges||Incorrect ranges in the functions; last number in the DPCI rating not bold|