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Episode 479: Project Management Principles 9-12 (Free)

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This episode is the third of three in which Cornelius Fichtner explores the following four project management principles that were introduced by the PMBOK® Guide Seventh Edition:

  • 09. Complexity - Limiting effects of system interactions
  • 10. Risk - Reducing risk for project success
  • 11. Adaptability - Designing processes so you can be nimble
  • 12. Change - Readying everyone for what’s coming

The episode is based on our original article "12 Project Management Principles Explained by Experts" and is neither a rehash nor is it a derivative of the PMBOK® Guide. Instead, you can expect to go beyond. Illustrated with quotes from experts and examples from real life not found in the guide, you will learn the concepts behind the principles in terms you need to understand as you prepare for your PMP exam. We even review one sample PMP exam prep question (taken from the PrepCast Simulator) for each of the principles and give you a chance to see if you can spot the correct answer.

You can learn more about the PMP certification and how you can prepare better for it by visiting The PM PrepCast website here:

Need an exam simulator for your review? Try The PrepCast PM Exam Simulator here:

This episode was recorded live and, as usual, we got some insightful questions and comments from the audience!

Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam: PMP Exam prep
PMP Exam Simulator

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Video Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: In this episode, we look at final 4 of 12 project management principles.

Hello! Welcome back to The Project Management Podcast™ at I’m Cornelius Fichtner and this Episode 479, 479, and just like the last two episodes, this one is part of my Project Management Professional (PMP) Exam prep course called The PM PrepCast, and it is recorded live on YouTube and Facebook.

And for the third and final time, please do take a look at these important and foundational principles that come from our course, even if you are already PMP certified or never will be. They will help you make better decisions on your projects.

Lastly, this is a video episode. And if you are not seeing the video, then please do visit Here we go!

Video Presentation

Cornelius Fichtner: Today, as you can probably guess, we want to take a look at the last four. We begin with ‘complexity’ where we will learn and see that limiting effects of systems interaction is important. Then, we talk about ‘risk’ because reducing risk helps project success. Then, we want to be designing processes, so that we can be nimble and adaptable. And obviously, every project brings change, and we want to ready everybody for that particular change.

Yeah! So those are the four principles we are going to look at today. Hello, once again everybody! Before we get started though, I want to make it absolutely clear that we’re following the PMBOK® Guide 12 principles, and obviously, we’re using sort of the same language. But this here is not a rehash or even a derivative of what you can find in the PMBOK® Guide, right. Because this is all based on our own research and our own article. Here is the article. It is the 12th project management principles explained by experts. So, we went above and beyond the PMBOK® Guide. In this article, we’ve taken the 12 principles as a starting point and then found experts to help us explain them. And you will hear from those experts throughout today’s presentation.

Here is our agenda! First of all, just a quick one: The PMBOK® Guide is in truth two documents. And the principles we’re looking at, they’re not actually part of the PMBOK® Guide. I’ll show you exactly what I mean. Then, we’re going to review principles 9 through 12. And just like in the last two sessions, get ready to participate, and I’m going to ask you a few poignant questions about how these particular principles apply to you. If you’re joining me here live and that’s going to be very good with some interaction and some help from everybody. At the end, the usual take action where I tell you what you might want to do next and some takeaways that you may want to do, want to know for the exam.

Before we jump into everything, please don’t forget that we offer a full suite of PMP Exam prep products. On the left, the PrepCast training course at or if you want the long URL. And now on the right, the PrepCast Simulator at These two products together will get you to the PMP Exam. You’ll get your 35 contact hours, and you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to over 2,000, woooh, how many is it now? 200 questions I think. Don’t quote me on it. I don’t even know many we have. We keep adding more and more.

So, here we go! Again, item number one for today: The 12 principles that we have and that we’ve talked about or will be talking about four more, they’re not actually coming from the PMBOK® Guide. They are coming from the standard for project management, the ANSI standard for project management.

So on the right-hand side, you see this here for illustrative purposes, a picture that I’ve taken from the PMBOK® Guide. The white box that is the standard for project management and the somewhat purplish box, fuchsia, I don’t know what that color is, below the big one, that is actually the PMBOK® Guide, the Project Management Body of Knowledge. The principles as you can see here, they are here at the top. These here are the 12 principles. Whereas, down here in the PMBOK® Guide, you actually have 8 performance domains. Just as an interesting thing to remember that the principles are not actually in the PMBOK® Guide. They are part of the ANSI standard.

Alright! And with that quick clarification out of the way, let’s get going with the next four principles --- Complexity, Risk, Adaptability, and Change. Beginning with, Complexity, where we talk about limiting the effects of system interaction.

So to start with the basics, most projects are complex and you want to address this complexity by using the team’s knowledge, by using the team’s experience and also lessons learned. Complexity, that is the state or if you want, quality of being intricate, of being complicated, and obviously, there are many factors which will influence the project’s complexity. And let’s take a look at some examples here that I have on here.

I don’t think that any of these that are slowly coming up here are going to be a big surprise to you, and that’s because generally speaking, these factors here, they influence the complexity on many projects. So, they are important areas to understand for our work as project managers and project leaders.

And as you can see there at the bottom right, I am looking for your input already. So, for those of you who are joining me live from Facebook and YouTube, what are some examples of what influences the complexity on your projects? Please do type them into the chat, and I will bring them up. And while you do that, let’s briefly review what we have already here on the screen. So, uncertainty, the biggest uncertainty is often about natural scope of the project. In particular, if you know you have a discovery project where you’re really trying something new, right. Then also technology is something where new technologies will lead to complexity. We have multiple stakeholders and multiple partners there on the right-hand side. There is a joke that says, you know, only on a project with one stakeholder, yourself, will you not have any conflict or complexity. And yeah, so as soon as we have multiples, then that is it. We also have interdependencies on multiple systems. Then, there are new territories, new markets, right. So, that is all of that.

I’m looking at some of the comments that are coming in more about, thank you very much, about the quality of my training. I appreciate that very much. Okay, that wasn’t the question, but thank you, thank you very much. I have another fun for you when it comes to complexity, and that is the government. The government adds complexity to our projects. Think of Europe, GDPR, data privacy makes every IT project a little bit more complex because you have to make sure that you keep the personal data of people safe. And of course, if you are a construction project manager, you will be all too familiar with building codes, electrical codes, and things like that. So, there’s a complexity added to that. Okay!

Tayo has one: “Impact of the outcome of the project.” Exactly, so that can add complexity to what you’re doing. So, you’re adding complexity to your organization with your project. And I think, that ties nicely into principle number 12, which is change management and we will look that in a little bit. Okay!

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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