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Complex projects need new approach as old rules lead to 79pc failure rate for time allocation and 60pc budget blow-outs

Posted by gmarkets on 9 October, 2007

Andrew Leicester of Bond University was one academic who had been considering the future of project management, according to David Binning, reported in The Australian Financial Review (4/10/2007, p. 16).

Big problems get big name: Projects invoking international security, climate change and renewable energy were among the big problems waiting for the program approach. Leicester stressed that efforts to address those big issues shouldn’t be seen simply as a project, but as a program composed of many projects. And the term “extraordinary project management” was starting to get airplay at the big end of the game, as more projects demanded interdependency systems theory and concepts, Leicester said.

Most projects fail to meet deadlines: Then there was always the problem of improving the performance of projects. Leicester cited a book published by the Harvard Business School called Reinventing Project Management, which resulted from a survey of 600 major projects across business and government in the US. It found that a staggering 85 per cent of projects failed to meet time and budget allocations, with time running over on average in 79 per cent, and budgets blowing out by 60 per cent on average.

New trends: As one result of those sorts of trends, membership of major project management schools and associations throughout the world had risen sharply over the past decade. “We are seeing the need for different kinds of project management and even managers themselves for serious projects,” Leicester said. One of the biggest emerging challenges for project management was the need to balance the interests of large numbers of stakeholders. Take PPPs (public private partnerships) – a mode of project delivery popular in Victoria at present. “Every organisation involved will have its own managerial role,” says Melbourne University lecturer and project management specialist, Hemanta Doloi. “There are a multitude of stakeholders involved; it’s like trying to be all things to everybody.” Doloi was currently meeting with academics from a number of APEC countries as part of a joint project to develop and apply best practice project management systems to tackling climate change. “We are looking to exchange ideas and fine tune the scope of the model we are trying to develop in Australia.”

The Australian Financial Review, 4/10/2007, p. 16

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