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    Project Management: Defining Success Essay

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    Project Management: Shaping Success


    1. Executive Summary 2
    1. The Components of Success 3
    1. Failure Case Studies:

    3.1 The Big Dig, Boston, USA 4

    3.2 World Cup 2022, Qatar 6

    3.3 Sydney Opera House 8

    1. A Success Narrative: London Olympics, 2012 10
    1. Common Failures and Comparison with Success 12
    1. Decisions and Recommendations 13

    Bibliography 14 – 15

    1. Executive Summary

    The study focuses upon the components of undertaking success and provides cardinal recommendations to heighten the company’s policy manual and understanding. The components are:

    • Timescale
    • Cost
    • Quality
    • Health and Safety
    • Bequest

    Case surveies analyzing undertakings which are established as being overly flawed in one or more country characteristic:

    • The Boston ‘big dig’ , USA ( timescale, cost, quality, safety )
    • Katar 2022 World Cup ( safety, bequest, quality )
    • Sydney Opera House ( timescale, cost )

    In contrast, the London 2012 Olympic undertaking is regarded as a major success. This expansive undertaking was delivered safely on clip, on budget and boasts a positive bequest. Failures common to the flawed undertakings are compared to the success of the Olympics.

    These company qualities constitute undertaking direction success:

    • accomplishing ambitious public presentation marks
    • developing partnerships
    • Having a trained, integrated, experient and motivated work force
    • puting value delivered over costs saved

    Project direction is a continuously germinating subject. There is no aureate expression to guarantee perfect success ( Smith, 2008 ) . However, understanding gained through experience, investing in preparation and development of marks helps gain a undertaking every bit successfully as possible. The components of success may be identified as:

    1. Timescale.

    A successful company adheres to specify aims, plans efficaciously, anticipates jobs and delivers a undertaking to the client by an in agreement deadline.

    1. Finance.

    This is non merely about maintaining costs low and within a defined budget, but about presenting the best value. Waste should be minimised and labour efficiency maximised. Margins are traditionally low in the industry ( Egan, 1998 ) : a successful company does non simply survive but makes a good adequate net income to:

    • Continue presenting the best value for clients and stakeholders
    • Attract long term stockholders
    • Invest in preparation, research and merchandise development.
    • Be honest and realistic about budgets
    1. Quality.

    There should be no edifice defects and through value direction, client outlooks should non merely be met but exceeded. Through quality, a successful company retains and grows their client base and develops partnering agreements. Partnerships with major clients cut down cost and timescales ( Egan, 1998 ) .

    1. Health and Safety.

    A successful undertaking ensures a dearth of hurts and avoids human deaths.

    1. Bequest.

    A successful undertaking leaves an appropriate, permanent imprint in the undermentioned ways:

    • Political – advancing substructure and industry betterment.
    • Economic – bring forthing income for the country.
    • Environmental – sustainability, adhering to low C building.
    • Cultural – profiting all stakeholders.
    • Technical – forcing the boundaries of accomplishment.

    Ideally wining on all degrees, undertakings may alternatively win in one or more country but fail overly in other countries. Three instances deemed overall failures are examined.

    1. FailureCASE STUDIES

    Figure 1 – The ‘Big Dig ‘ or Central Artery/Tunnel Project ( Geotimes, 2002 )

    The ‘Big Dig’ , launched in 1991, was the most expensive building strategy in U.S. history designed to replace an out-of-date main road bing the economic system $ 500 m/year ( Silverman, 2015 ) .

    The undertaking was originally estimated at $ 2.6 billion due for completion in 1998 ( National Academy of Engineering, 2003 ) . However, holds pushed the undertaking completion day of the month to 2007 with cost overproductions of $ 12.2 billion ( Silverman, 2015 ) .

    There were legion grounds for the undertaking delays:

    • Tunnel leaks caused by deficiency of due diligence
    • Program holds due to legion alterations of the signature overseas telegram stayed span
    • Change of direction and communicating issues
    • Failure to pull off client and stakeholder engagement
    • Challenges of set abouting building alongside day-to-day public usage

    Additionally, a calamity occurred when ceiling panels in a tunnel collapsed, doing a human death and ensuing in extended judicial proceeding for direction. Federal probe blamed unequal stuffs and the undertaking ‘s intensifying budget ( LeBlanc, 2007 ) .

    The inordinate failures of the undertaking led to extended rating. Figure 2 shows the altering entire undertaking cost. Inflation contributed to a great extent – about $ 6.5 billion. However, the true impact was hard to measure due to the dynamic interplay of range, agenda and building costs. Extenuation costs were inadequately quantified ( National Academy of Engineering, 2003 ) .

    Figure 2 – Cost History and Scope Evolution, in 1000000s of dollars ( Data from Edwards, 2002 )

    1. 2022 WORLD CUP, QATAR

    Figure 3 – Stadium building site ( Bhatia, 2014 )

    The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is another outstanding illustration of direction failure. It remains to be seen whether the undertaking will complete on clip and on budget, although the figure reported by Deloitte is an inordinate $ 200 billion USD ( Figure 4 ) ( Deloitte, 2013 ) .

    However, irrespective of concluding public presentation in these respects, the undertaking will be remembered as an dismaying failure in safe and responsible building. Reports have emerged exposing unethical ( and in some instances, illegal ) practises on the portion of contractors responsible for the assorted sites and developments.

    Despite the colossal disbursement involved in the undertaking, the cost of building work has been minimised through inexpensive migratory labor subjected to hapless on the job conditions and minimum wage. Workers’ payslips reveal that some laborers were paid every bit small as ?4.90 a twenty-four hours, or 45p an hr. In other instances, wage has been withheld for up to one twelvemonth ( Booth and Pattison, 2014 ) .

    Beyond fiscal development, there has been disregard from contractors sing safety on-site: controls are frequently slack and to boot, laborers are required to work in utmost temperatures for long hours. Both of these factors combined resulted in a reported decease toll of over one per twenty-four hours for workers in 2014 ( Gibson and Pattison, 2014 ) . Figure 5 illustrates the decease toll in comparing with tantamount featuring events.

    Figure 5 – Construction deceases in recent featuring events ( London Loves Business, 2014 )

    It should be noted that this public presentation can be attributed chiefly to the contractors pull offing the undertakings – an international jurisprudence firm’s study confirmed that “it appears clear to us that the statute law is in topographic point to guarantee migratory workers ‘ rewards are paid and to prevent unauthorized tax write-offs. It is, hence, an issue of the proper monitoring and enforcement of such statute law.” The same decision was besides expressed sing worker safety considerations ( DLA Piper, 2014 ) .

    Regardless of deadlines or commercial public presentation, a cardinal managerial function must be to guarantee a safe, ethically run site. For this ground the building of Qatar 2022 will ever be considered a failure.


    Known globally as the symbol for Australia, Sydney Opera House is arguably one of the world’s most breath-taking constructions, drifting effortlessly atop the Sydney Harbour. However, the undertaking of gaining the undertaking was far from effortless.

    File:Sydney Opera House Sails.jpg

    Figure 6 – Sydney Opera House ( SOH ) ( Enochlau, 2006 )

    In 1957, architect Jorn Utzon won the competition initiated by the New South Wales authorities for the edifice. Construction started in 1959 with Utzon as undertaking director.

    The first failure stemmed from biased opinion be givening to architectural signifier instead than feasibleness. The judgment panel besides failed to measure how much experience the competition entrants had with large-scale design undertakings.

    The uncomplete, unseasoned structural scheme proposed to accomplish the complex roof design was the 2nd failure ; the undertaking started without a full set of completed drawings ( MIT, 2011 ) . This was one of the first major undertakings to be designed utilizing CAD package, therefore enforcing challenges in itself.

    Furthermore, there was no clear plan, ensuing in major design alterations being made on a day-to-day footing during building. These alterations included the destruction and Reconstruction of parts of the construction and accordingly the budget soared to an unprecedented degree.

    Stakeholders began to acquire involved and demanded changes be made for fiscal grounds. For illustration, the Australian Broadcasting Commission wanted the proposed larger opera hall to be converted to a concert hall because to increase gross through larger audiences ( MIT, 2011 ) .

    Figure 7 – Sol under building ( Martin, 2012 )

    In 1966 Utzon resigned as undertaking director, taking the bulk of the designs with him. The new direction later struggled to retroflex them which had important cost and plan deductions.

    The undertaking took 14 old ages to finish, which was originally planned for 4 old ages. The entire cost amounted to $ 102 million AUSD ; the initial estimation was $ 7 million ( Martin, 2012 ) . The graduated table and complexness of the undertaking was unprecedented and the original cost estimation was extremely unrealistic.


    The London 2012 Olympics was doubtless a direction success. This can be attributed to two cardinal factors – ambitious marks and foresight in planning.

    Figure 8 – Queen Elizabeth 11 Olympic Park, London ( Inhabitat, 2010 )

    The Olympic Design Authority ( ODA ) had clearly defined marks refering environment and sustainability, wellness & A ; safety and design bequest.


    The ODA began be aftering the Olympic command and brief good in progress of building. They utilised the cognition and experience of specialist authorities sections ( e.g. Health and Safety Executive ) concerning:

    • The commissioning of surveies to place contractors with relevant experience
    • Puting marks for each stage
    • Monitoring and developing partnerships with contractors
    • On site wellness and safety direction ( HSE engagement )

    Despite a battalion of challenges originating from the tremendous graduated table, the undertaking succeeded on many degrees:

    • Delivered on clip – concluding plants completed in September 2011.
    • Exemplary wellness and safety record – the program was to put a new criterion in building, to research & A ; educate the industry to develop a wellness and safety witting and proactive civilization. This was achieved decidedly ; there were no work related human deaths on the whole of the building programme. Injury frequence rate as reported by the HSE per 100,000 hours worked was 0.16, good below the industry norm of 0.55 ( Boltet Al, 2012 ) .
    • Legacy – The undertaking provided: re-use of universe category featuring installations, low-cost lodging to a now premier country, execution of modern substructure and a monolithic urban regeneration programme.
    • Cost – The original cost of the games in its entireness was advertised at around the ?2.4 billion grade. This was revised to ?9.3 billion in 2007 ( DCMS 2012 ) . Despite being ab initio over budget, there was openness and transparence refering funding. This resulted in a revised, realistic budget which delivered a successful locale for the games.

    Sing the components of success in subdivision 2, table 5.1 compares common subjects found within the failures to the success of London 2012.

    Table 5.1: Comparison common failure subjects with success.





    Absence of planning, deficiency of communicating and unrealistic aspirations.

    Early-stage planning, integrated squads and realistic ends.


    Lack of truth and honestness with the budget.

    Openness and transparence with the budget.


    Substandard stuffs, undelivered value and inexperient contractors.

    Good quality of physique, value delivered to the client and stakeholders.

    Health and Safety

    Fatalities, hurts, no province concern over worker public assistance and development.

    Safety as a precedence, no human deaths, hurt rate good below industry norm.


    Litigation jobs, all stakeholders non profiting and negative economic impact.

    Re-usable installations, urban regeneration, cultural pride, good to community and economic additions.

    It is clear that a undertaking may be deemed a success if the above standards are achieved with the exclusion of lodging stiffly to an original budget. Ultimately, the British Government was right in passing more to wholly accomplish the other four standards.


    This study concludes that holding control and bid of the five countries outlined in subdivisions 2 and 5 constitutes success. If a undertaking is a proficient success but fails on other degrees, so it may be deemed an overall failure. Equally, salvaging money does non compare to success or presenting the best value for stakeholders and passing money does non vouch safety.

    The policy manual should therefore province that the company:

    1. Establishes and adheres to a system of clear public presentation marks.
    • Leting rating of quality and public presentation.
    1. Pursues a civilization of set uping partnering relationships with clients offering repetition concern.
    • Bettering efficiency.
    • Decreasing the demand for tendering and contracts ( Egan, 1998 ) .
    1. Employs an incorporate, trained, safe and motivated work force.
    • Sharing and pooling experience across subjects.
    • Working together on legion undertakings.
    • Avoiding human deaths and major hurts.
    1. Considers finance by value delivered instead than money saved.
    • Exuding fiscal honestness and transparence.


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