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Implementation Assistance Application for Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10)


Complex highway projects come in a variety of sizes and utilize various financing mechanisms and delivery methods. Work on such projects often involves navigating complex logistics, new construction methods, controversial stakeholder issues, and restrictive regulations that require careful planning and execution. Similarly, underestimating cost, schedule, or disruption can negatively affect budgets, increase delays, undermine public confidence, and necessitate expensive changes.

Project management has long focused on three elements—cost, schedule, and technical (scope, design, quality, and integrated delivery), but complex projects, particularly those in the rapid renewal area, need something more robust to be successful.

Moving beyond traditional approaches requires stronger partnerships among transportation agencies, contractors, consulting engineers, and external stakeholders. Better strategic planning and execution must occur from startup through construction. This new SHRP2 guide provides practical tools and techniques to optimize innovation, minimize schedule and budget risks, and build better projects.

The guidebook, Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10), expands the three-dimensional analysis typically used by departments of transportation and creates a model that facilitates project management in five areas—cost, schedule, technical, financial, and context. Methods for assessing complexity factors will help managers make rational resource allocations and guide planning and implementation.

The complex management product is a methodology that takes a project through a deliberative process that begins with an overview of complexity mapping and then follows five distinct steps for addressing the five dimensions. The steps are: 1) define critical project success factors, 2) assemble project team, 3) select project arrangements, 4) prepare early cost model and finance plan, and 5) develop project action plans.

The guidebook also contains 18 case studies, forms, and other application tools that will assist transportation agencies in using the product. The companion training program will assist State and local transportation agency staff in obtaining the skill-sets necessary to follow the process.

The full report can be found at:

Expected User Benefits

  • Encourages early dialogue among the project team
  • Early identification of complexity based on needs of the project
  • Early identification of resource requirements
  • Creates a realistic balance between the available financing and the project scope
  • Product can be applied to highway projects of varying sizes and types to help manage projects and reduce schedule and cost impacts

Leadership Endorsement

Each application submitted from an organization or agency must have the endorsement of the Chief Executive Officer or designee. The letter of endorsement is submitted as an attachment to the application. Guidance for creating an endorsement letter appears in the application below.

Priority Ranking

When an organization or agency submits multiple applications, it must designate priority. Please rank each application in a single grouping, including all product submissions from your agency. Do not separate your organization's applications into categories for individual products, or levels of incentives (i.e., Lead Adopter or User Incentive).

For example, if your agency submits four applications (one for C02/C08/C09/C12/C15, one for R01A, one for R16, and one for R07), your agency must rank each application in priority order from 1 to 4, with 1 as the highest priority and 4 as the lowest priority. For your convenience, you will find a box later in this application to designate the priority ranking. FHWA and AASHTO will take into consideration the agency’s rankings when reviewing and evaluating the applications for implementation assistance. Your priority ranking should be expressed as "X of Y," as in "1 of 4."

Available Implementation Assistance

  • User Incentive
  • 8
  • Implementation Assistance Services: Each DOT is provided one of the following three implementation activities: one demonstration workshop for application of the process on a DOT project, one train-the-trainer session for DOT risk assessment facilitators and project managers, or eight hours of technical assistance to incorporate the product as part of the project development process.

    Implementation Assistance Funding Level: Up to $30,000 for each DOT, provided in the form of additional implementation assistance services and/or funding assistance for other implementation needs as identified by the DOT. These include demonstration workshops, train-the-trainer sessions, peer exchanges, technical assistance, project development manual updates, site visits to lead adopter agencies, and other activities as determined by the DOT.
  • State Departments of Transportation (DOTs)
  • June 27, 2014


  1. Demonstration of past interest and/or efforts to implement complex project management principles as part of the DOT's project development process.
  2. Development of a plan to implement R10 as part of the DOT’s project development process.
  3. Availability of DOT employees to lead R10 implementation activities for the DOT.
  4. Commitment of DOT leadership to make institutional and organizational challenges by implementing Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10).
  5. Participation in product evaluation activities including a qualitative, organizational, before/after assessment conducted by an independent consultant for FHWA.
  6. Willingness to share knowledge with other organizations interested in implementing Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10).

Application Form

Follow these steps to apply for implementation assistance:

  1. Review all background information located on this product's application page.
  2. Download the Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10) application form; and save it to your computer in order to iterate, revise, and secure approvals before uploading the final application and Leadership Endorsement Letter to this site.
  3. Once you have completed this form and secured the required Leadership Endorsement Letter(s), return to application page and complete the contact information fields.
  4. Upload this form and the Leadership Endorsement Letter to the page.
  5. Click submit; you will receive an email confirmation that includes the uploaded endorsement letter and application form.
The Round 3 application period has closed.

  • View Leadership Endorsement Guidance

  • Download the Project Management Strategies for Complex Projects (R10) application form.

  • Contact Information

Be sure to click submit only one time.

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