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We are aiming for an incremental return to campus in accordance with guidelines provided by NSW Health and the Australian Government. Until this time, learning activities and assessments will be planned and scheduled for online delivery where possible, and unit-specific details about face-to-face teaching will be provided on Canvas as the opportunities for face-to-face learning become clear.

Unit of study_

PMGT5898: Complex Project Leadership

This unit offers students an innovative way of looking at projects and programs and treating them as complex adaptive systems. Applying the principles of complexity and systems thinking assists project and program managers and leadership teams in formulating approaches to leadership of challenging and large-scale initiatives. The expected outcomes of this unit include development of: ability to diagnose complexity on a wide range of projects types; understanding of how systems thinking and complexity theories can be used to find new, creative ways to think about and lead complex projects and programs; ability to select and apply a range of systems thinking and management modelling tools and techniques to understanding, management and leadership of complex business problems; ability to reflect upon your own practice and develop self awareness as a key to leadership in the face of complexity.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code PMGT5898
Unit name Complex Project Leadership
Session, year
Semester 1, 2020
Attendance mode Online
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 6

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Lynn Heather Crawford,
Lecturer(s) Lynn Heather Crawford ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Discussion Forums
Weekly readings and contribution to Discussion Forums - Weeks 2-12
20% Multiple weeks 500 words or less
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Initial activities
Survey and Discussion Forum entries in Canvas
5% Week 02
Due date: 05 Mar 2020

Closing date: 06 Apr 2020
2 x 500 words or less
Outcomes assessed: LO6
Assignment group assignment Team Assignment Part 1
Presentation to Client 'Board' - refer Canvas for details.
20% Week 09
Due date: 01 May 2020
10 minute team presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment group assignment Team Assignment Part 2
Presentation to Client 'Board' - refer Canvas for details.
20% Week 11
Due date: 15 May 2020
10 minute team presentation
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO6 LO5 LO4
Assignment Reflective Leadership Report
A reflective report on a project of your own. Details in Canvas.
35% Week 13
Due date: 25 May 2020

Closing date: 08 Jun 2020
5000 words or less
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
group assignment = group assignment ?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic honesty, academic dishonesty, and the resources available to all students.

The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic dishonesty or plagiarism seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic dishonesty. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction and overview Independent study (8 hr) LO6
Week 02 Understanding complexity Independent study (5 hr) LO1 LO6
Understanding complexity Block teaching (16 hr) LO1 LO6
Week 03 Categorising complexity Independent study (8 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 04 Complexity theory Independent study (8 hr) LO1
Week 05 Systems thinking and modelling Independent study (8 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 06 Systems thinking and modelling Independent study (8 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Week 07 Systems thinking and modelling Independent study (8 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Multiple perspectives Independent study (8 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 09 Systems thinking and modelling Independent study (5 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6
Systems thinking and leadership Block teaching (16 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Leadership of complex projects Independent study (8 hr) LO5 LO6
Week 11 Perspectives on Leadership Independent study (5 hr) LO5 LO6
Perspectives on leadership Block teaching (16 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Work on Reflective Leadership Report Independent study (8 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

For Block Mode students, the intensive Blocks will be held at 133 Castlereagh Street, from 9am to 5pm on the following dates:

6-7 March 2020
1-2 May 2020
15-16 May 2020

Online mode students are invited to attend the intensive Blocks in person wherever possible as this will enrich the learning experience.  If unable ot attend in person they should aim to join the session via Zoom.   They will be required to work in teams with Block Mode students and devise ways of contributing to the Team Presentations which will be held on the afternoon of the first day of the second and third blocks, in May.  

All students are required to complete weekly activities in Canvas.  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Prescribed readings

No prescribed readings. 

Refer to Canvas for recommended reference material and specific readings for each week of Semester. 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the basic principles of complex adaptive systems and selected complexity theories and apply this understanding to management and leadership of projects
  • LO2. use categorisation techniques to diagnose levels of management complexity on projects as a guide to assessing risk and determining management approaches
  • LO3. select and use systems thinking approaches and modelling tools to assist in formulating responses to complex projects and organisational phenomena
  • LO4. recognise the difference between use of models as devices for design and implementation vs sense-making and learning
  • LO5. draw upon understanding of multiple perspectives when dealing with management complexity
  • LO6. critically reflect on practice and increase self-awareness in order to improve team and leadership effectiveness.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
In response to student feedback, changes have been made to ensure timely contribution to Discussion Forums and activities added to block sessions.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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