VUCA and our complex project world

Do we need new models to describe complexity?

The VUCA model has been with us for over 20 years. After its creation, the model first spread initially spread in a military context. It then found its way into the business world. The aim: VUCA is intended to help train people to remain capable of acting in difficult situations.

What is behind VUCA? The acronym "VUCA" stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These four terms are used to describe our world. Nowadays, it is primarily corporate management that has to deal with these increasingly challenging conditions. There are also factors behind this that make it necessary for companies to react to the market in an agile manner.

VUCA is a model that, like all models, does not represent reality in its entirety. Every model is a tool for better assessing your IT project. A model always arises from the need to categorize something in order to better understand it. If you understand what the problem is, you can use the model effectively to solve the problem. Being aware of the different factors helps you to overcome your challenges in the IT project. You can memorize the corresponding recommendations for action with the same letters:



The environment is changeable. It is necessary and difficult to react to them quickly and effectively.

Solution: Vision 

If you keep your vision in mind, you can even derive manageable planning corridors from the changeable environment.



Can you plan for constantly changing timelines and project requirements? Not a chance! This creates uncertainty and chaos in an IT project.

Solution: Understanding 

Use your experience as a guide. Keep an open mind and it will be easier for you to recognize deviations and take countermeasures.


Digitalization. Globalization. Interfaces within your company, including end-to-end processes. Everything is interconnected. It's a challenge to maintain an overview and find out who you can turn to in your IT project for a specific problem.

Solution: Clarity 

Reduce complexity: set common goals and values for everyone in your organization. This allows you to break down the problems into small, clear tasks.


The same situation can be assessed differently and lead to conflicts within the team.

Solution: Agility

Use the different perspectives in the team, from key users and stakeholders. With regular feedback, you can be and remain agile.

VUCA - an outdated model?

Do you think the model is up to date? Do we need a new model? For some time now, there have been discussions that VUCA has been replaced by the BANI model. There are also other models, such as RUPT (Realities, Understanding, Possibilities, Transparency) or TUNA (Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel, Ambiguous). Some consider all of these models to be "vague" because they fall short of recommendations for action. What all the models mentioned here have in common is that they require a specific reason for change and an individual context in order to be applied effectively.

And if you don't know exactly where to start, let's talk. Together we will find a way to deal with internal and external change processes.


Bennis, Warren G. & Nanus, Burt. Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge. Harper & Row, 1985.