Unit of competency details

PSPPM501B - Design complex projects (Release 3)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
3 (this release)Current 01/Nov/2012
(View details for release 2) Replaced07/Mar/2012
(View details for release 1) Replaced05/May/2009

Usage recommendation:
The Deleted usage recommendation was implemented on 13 June 2017 to describe training components that have no replacement. Enrolments in training components and statements of attainment or qualifications issued before 13 June 2017 are valid. For any components marked as deleted after 13 June 2017, the applicable transition/teach-out periods apply. For specific questions regarding the enrolment, delivery or issuance of a statement of attainment/qualification, please contact your training regulator.
DeletedDeleted from PSP12 Public Sector Training Package06/Mar/2016
Supersedes and is equivalent to PSPPM501A - Initiate projects04/May/2009

Training packages that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Training packages that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PUA12 - Public Safety Training PackagePublic Safety Training Package 2.0-2.1 
PSP12 - Public Sector Training PackagePublic Sector Training Package 1.0 
MSM - Manufacturing Training PackageManufacturing Training Package 2.0-2.1 
MSA07 - Manufacturing Training PackageManufacturing Training Package 8.3-8.4 
DEF12 - Defence Training PackageDefence Training Package 2.0 
DEF - Defence Training PackageDefence Training Package 2.0 
CSC - Correctional Services Training PackageCorrectional Services Training Package 1.0-1.1 
CHC08 - Community Services Training PackageCommunity Services Training Package 4.2 

Qualifications that include this unit

CodeTitleSort Table listing Qualifications that include this unit by the Title columnRelease
PUA60112 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management)Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) 1-3 
PUA60110 - Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management)Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management) 
PUA52210 - Diploma of Public Safety (Compliance)Diploma of Public Safety (Compliance) 
PUA51709 - Diploma of Public Safety (Test and Evaluation)Diploma of Public Safety (Test and Evaluation) 
PUA51410 - Diploma of Public Safety (Explosive Ordnance Proof and Experimental)Diploma of Public Safety (Explosive Ordnance Proof and Experimental) 
PSP51312 - Diploma of Government (Project Management)Diploma of Government (Project Management) 
PSP51304 - Diploma of Government (Project Management)Diploma of Government (Project Management) 1-2 
MSM50316 - Diploma of Production ManagementDiploma of Production Management 1-2 
MSA50311 - Diploma of Production ManagementDiploma of Production Management 1-4 
ICA50205 - Diploma of Information Technology (Project Management)Diploma of Information Technology (Project Management) 
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SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080315 Project Management  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 080315 Project Management  05/Jul/2004 
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Modification History


TP Version 




Unit descriptor edited.



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Primary release.

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers planning and development of projects which may be reasonably complex in terms of scope, degree of risk, political, cultural and social factors that apply, consequences of failure and degree of control of the projects. It includes identifying project opportunities, undertaking scoping, analysing the feasibility of projects, developing project plans and managing the establishment of projects. Contract management requirements are not included as this aspect is addressed by units of competency within the Competency field of Procurement and Contract Management.

In practice, designing complex projects overlaps with other generalist and specialist work activities such as acting ethically, coordinating resource allocation and usage, developing client services, undertaking research and analysis.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication

Application of the Unit

Not applicable.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements are the essential outcomes of the unit of competency.

Together, performance criteria specify the requirements for competent performance. Text in bold italics  is explained in the Range Statement following.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1 . Identify project opportunities and undertake scoping 

1.1 A critical analysis  of the need for a project is conducted in accordance with organisational policy and procedures .

1.2 A project definition study is undertaken, where necessary, to determine the scope of the project.

1.3 Project scoping is completed in accordance with organisational policy and procedures and identifies a rationale for the project that includes the purpose, outcomes/expected benefits.

1.4 Stakeholders  are identified and canvassed to ensure that their requirements are addressed in project planning.

2 . Analyse project feasibility 

2.1 Research and analysis is undertaken to identify impacts and risks, constraining factors  and alternate options.

2.2 Technical feasibility, supportability and cost effectiveness of the project are analysed and the outcome is reported to key stakeholders.

2.3 Alternatives for project design are assessed and a preferred option that fits the strategic direction of the organisation/work unit is identified and reported.

2.4 Relevant specialists are consulted to determine the extent of financial, technical, security, scheduling, whole-of-life support  and probity, and other risks.

2.5 A business case is prepared and approvals  to proceed with project development are obtained in accordance with organisational policy, procedures and guidelines.

3 . Develop project plans 

3.1 Project aims, objectives and impacts are defined in the project plan , and timeframes and resources to complete quality deliverables on time and within budget are identified.

3.2 Projected outcomes are recorded in measurable and achievable forms and indicators to monitor the performance of the project are developed and agreed by relevant parties.

3.3 Potential risks are investigated and identified in the project plan and a risk management process is established to analyse information and options to manage risks .

3.4 Skills, roles and responsibilities of team members and stakeholders are clarified and agreed, and reporting requirements are identified.

3.5 Management  of project parameters  is addressed in the project plan and evaluation criteria are designed in accordance with organisational policy and practice.

3.6 Project management tools  are utilised for planning in accordance with project requirements and the project is designed and documented  in consultation with specialists  to meet user requirements.

4 . Manage establishment of project 

4.1 If required, stakeholders are lobbied in accordance with organisational policy and procedures, to negotiate endorsement for the project.

4.2 Terms of reference are written and agreed to by stakeholders and resources are obtained in accordance with organisational procedures to establish the project.

4.3 Project scope and objectives are reviewed and analysed, and a strategy is developed to establish work breakdown structures  to implement the project.

4.4 Project infrastructure  is identified and established in accordance with organisational policy and procedures.

4.5 Specialist and technical support relevant to the project is obtained in accordance with the project plan.

4.6 Project governance structure and processes are established as detailed in the project plan.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This section describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Skill requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms skills in:

  • using project planning techniques related to projects that may be reasonably complex in terms of scope, degree of risk, political, cultural and social factors that apply, consequences of failure and degree of control of the projects
  • detailing requirements, writing recommendations and preparing plans requiring precision of expression
  • negotiating timelines, roles and responsibilities with stakeholders and team members
  • scheduling project activities
  • communicating with stakeholders using a range of communication styles to suit different audiences and purposes
  • responding to diversity, including gender and disability
  • using project management tools suited to planning reasonably complex projects
  • applying risk management techniques in project establishment including risk sharing and transfer
  • using public relations strategies to promote and gain endorsement for projects
  • including workplace safety issues in project planning requirements
  • accessing/preparing information electronically or in hard copy

Knowledge requirements 

Look for evidence that confirms knowledge and understanding of:

  • legislation, organisational policies and procedures that may impact on the project and management of the project, for example:
  • public sector codes of ethics/conduct
  • occupational health and safety and environmental and sustainability requirements
  • project governance requirements
  • financial management requirements
  • quality standards
  • risk management
  • procurement
  • human resources
  • equal employment opportunity, equity and diversity principles
  • project planning methods which may be reasonably complex in terms of scope, degree of risk, political, cultural and social factors that apply, consequences of failure and degree of control of the projects
  • project management tools suited to planning reasonably complex projects
  • principles relating to the planning phase of project management
  • the project specifications
  • market capability
  • resource plans
  • project approval processes
  • scheduling packages
  • cost schedule control systems
  • integrated logistics support
  • work breakdown structures
  • change management in the context of designing complex projects

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide specifies the evidence required to demonstrate achievement in the unit of competency as a whole. It must be read in conjunction with the Unit descriptor, Performance Criteria, the Range Statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Public Sector Training Package.

Units to be assessed together 

  • Pre-requisite units that must  be achieved prior  to this unit:Nil
  • Co-requisite units that must  be assessed with  this unit:Nil
  • Co-assessed units that may  be assessed with this unit to increase the efficiency and realism of the assessment process include, but are not limited to:
  • PSPETHC501B Promote the values and ethos of public service
  • PSPGOV502B Develop client services
  • PSPGOV503B Coordinate resource allocation and usage
  • PSPGOV504B Undertake research and analysis
  • PSPGOV505A Promote diversity
  • PSPGOV507A Undertake negotiations
  • PSPGOV512A Use complex workplace communication strategies
  • PSPPM502B Manage complex projects
  • PSPPM503B Close complex projects
  • PSPPROC502A Establish contract management arrangements

Overview of evidence requirements 

In addition to integrated demonstration of the elements and their related performance criteria, look for evidence that confirms:

  • the knowledge requirements of this unit
  • the skill requirements of this unit
  • application of the Employability Skills as they relate to this unit (see table Following for examples)
  • complex projects designed in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Resources required to carry out assessment 

These resources include:

  • legislation, guidelines, procedures and protocols relating to project planning and management
  • workplace project documentation
  • scenarios and case studies
  • examples of project management tools

Where and how to assess evidence 

Valid assessment of this unit requires:

  • a workplace environment or one that closely resembles normal work practice and replicates the range of conditions likely to be encountered when initiating projects, including coping with difficulties, irregularities and breakdowns in routine
  • complex projects designed in a range of (3 or more) contexts (or occasions, over time)

Assessment methods should reflect workplace demands, such as literacy, and the needs of particular groups, such as:

  • people with disabilities
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • women
  • young people
  • older people
  • people in rural and remote locations

Assessment methods suitable for valid and reliable assessment of this competency may include, but are not limited to, a combination of 2 or more of:

  • case studies
  • demonstration
  • observation
  • portfolios
  • projects
  • questioning
  • scenarios
  • simulation or role plays
  • authenticated evidence from the workplace and/or training courses

For consistency of assessment 

Evidence must be gathered over time in a range of contexts to ensure the person can achieve the unit outcome and apply the competency in different situations or environments

Range Statement

The Range Statement provides information about the context in which the unit of competency is carried out. The variables cater for differences between States and Territories and the Commonwealth, and between organisations and workplaces. They allow for different work requirements, work practices and knowledge. The Range Statement also provides a focus for assessment. It relates to the unit as a whole. Text in bold italics  in the Performance Criteria is explained here.

Critical analysis  may include:

  • internal and external environment scan
  • political imperatives
  • previous and current related projects
  • policies likely to be impacted
  • cost-benefit analysis

Policy and procedures  may include:

  • government legislation (Federal, State and Local) affecting organisation's administration such as:
  • public sector management acts
  • financial management and accounting legislation and regulations
  • privacy legislation
  • environmental/sustainability legislation
  • government and organisational guidelines and procedures relating to:
  • project governance
  • resourcing
  • security
  • strategic plans
  • recruitment
  • risk management
  • procurement guidelines
  • designation approvals
  • industrial agreements

Stakeholders  may include:

  • project sponsor/funding bodies
  • clients or customers (internal and external)
  • industry
  • other agencies
  • general public
  • relevant interest groups
  • unions
  • functional areas
  • the organisation's senior management
  • Ministers
  • project team
  • steering committee members
  • end user
  • supplier/service provider

Constraining factors  may include:

  • political
  • industrial
  • legislative
  • technical
  • financial
  • social
  • cultural
  • security/privacy
  • environmental
  • logistical support
  • resources

Whole-of-life support  may include:

  • maintenance
  • supply
  • technical data
  • personnel
  • training
  • facilities
  • packaging, handling
  • storage and transportation
  • support and test equipment
  • computing support

Approval  may be required from:

  • project sponsor
  • business owner of the project
  • program manager
  • line manager
  • specialist project management office
  • chief executive officer, manager or management representative
  • funding body
  • customer or client

Project plan  will include some or all of:

  • acquisition strategies
  • budget and financial management strategy
  • contract management
  • cost estimates
  • evaluation criteria
  • expected outcomes/measurable benefits of the project
  • facilities
  • inclusions and exclusions from project
  • information/communication strategy
  • intellectual property strategies
  • milestones
  • objectives
  • outputs/project deliverables and their acceptance criteria
  • people plan including human resource management and human resource development
  • performance criteria/indicators
  • project control mechanisms
  • project implementation strategy
  • project governance strategy
  • purpose
  • quality assurance
  • quality control
  • quality standards for project
  • rationale
  • required project resources
  • resource management
  • risk management
  • roles and responsibilities
  • schedule/timeline
  • task/work breakdown structure (WBS)

Risk management  may include:

  • acceptance
  • avoidance
  • minimisation
  • transfer

Management  may include:

  • risk management
  • schedule management
  • financial management
  • communication, including reporting
  • resources management
  • logistics management
  • scope management
  • change management
  • quality management
  • people management
  • procurement management
  • occupational health and safety management

Project parameters  include:

  • project scope - outcomes, objectives, project deliverables
  • feasibility
  • skills required for project team
  • people required for project including specialist expertise
  • communications including reporting requirements
  • risks associated with project including people, environment, resources, technology change during the life of the project, if applicable
  • steering committee arrangements
  • timeframe and milestones
  • cost
  • resources for project
  • acquisition/procurement
  • organisational structure for project
  • project quality control and operational flexibility
  • project governance structure
  • monitoring through staged rollout
  • project delivery requirements
  • pilot outcomes
  • intellectual property
  • integration of project within organisation
  • transition arrangements
  • change management
  • project evaluation

Project management tools  may include:

  • risk analysis
  • organisational project governance framework
  • communications plan
  • reporting framework
  • project management software and other tools:
  • Gantt and bar charts
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) charts
  • Critical Path Method
  • cost schedule control system
  • logistics support analysis
  • life cycle cost analysis
  • spreadsheets
  • recording systems - electronic and manual

Documented information  may include:

  • reports detailing strategy
  • statement of requirement/work
  • industry development proposals
  • project plans
  • resource plans
  • project team work plans
  • risk and issues plan and log
  • performance evaluation criteria
  • reports to industry
  • whole-of-life support proposals
  • project definition study

Relevant specialists  may include:

  • legal
  • technical
  • financial
  • other functional areas
  • other relevant agencies
  • logistics

Work breakdown structures  may include:

  • how the work is to be performed and how cost and schedule data are to be tracked and reported
  • identification of the project tasks (deliverables)
  • identification of specific management responsibilities for tasks

Project infrastructure  may include:

  • staffing levels/need for recruitment action and training
  • equipment and technical support
  • resource requirements including travel, finance etc
  • project office accommodation
  • management infrastructure

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

Competency field

Project Management.

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