Infrastructure projects are amongst the most challenging to complete. These physical or organisational structures are needed for the complete operation of societies or the facilities necessary for efficient economy function.
Infrastructure facilitates the productions of goods and services, but also facilitates protection or mobility of societies.
Be it bridges or broadband, electricity or energy, public houses or public spaces, rail or road; infrastructure projects keep us running.
The continual development of new and improved infrastructure helps to shape human society in new and exciting ways.
Project managers who work on or within infrastructure projects are under enormous pressure to handle projects often referred to as ‘megaprojects.’
Despite the pressure, these projects are some of the most important on the global market. The success or failure of their implementation could potentially affect millions of citizens, and the budgets can often exceed £1billion.
No infrastructure project can succeed without collaboration. It is one of the internal pillars that, when missing, can cause a project’s entirety to crumble.
Despite the fact many project managers will work on smaller-scale projects – the incorporation of collaborative project management
is certainly something that can be learnt from observing infrastructure projects.
The term collaboration is a comprehensive term that can be applied to a number of different applications within project management.
Perhaps the most important of these is project team collaboration. For a project to be successful, there has to be a collaborative attitude adopted by all.
From those conducting the manual labour, to the project managers – individuals need to collaborate to enhance the overall efficiency of the project.
Like a well-oiled machine, all the internal functions need to work in synchronisation to produce a high-quality result.
Internal collaboration methods often include ensuring a transparency of information through effective communication.
Each area needs to be informed of their targets, budgets and any changes. To work as a team there needs to be a constant awareness of continual joint goals.
Collaboration within infrastructure projects can also come in the form of funding. These huge projects need enormous amounts of funding in order to be completed to a first-rate standard.
Investors can range from charities, corporations, countries, or even unions. These investors should be considered as partners who project managers should continually collaborate with.
These parties may wish to be continually updated on the project’s progress, or they may only wish an annual report.
Either way it is fundamental to effectively collaborate with investors in order to clearly show their money is being spent appropriately.
A perfect example of collaborative funding for infrastructure projects is Japan giving India the huge sum of 35billion dollars.
The infrastructure projects in India are becoming a pressing matter. India is the most under-developed global market in the world, with huge potential for development.
The new infrastructure initiatives include fields of manufacturing, clean energy, skill development, water security, food processing, agricultural, cold chain and rural development.
Japan has also promised to help India build a high-speed railway for the corridor between Ahmedabad – Mumbai route.
Not only is Japan collaborating with India in order to fund their infrastructure project, but also see through their completion.
In order for an infrastructure project to be completed, you cannot only rely on one industry. Numerous industries often come together under one project with the shared goal of project completion.
An infrastructure project to build a bridge, for example, could not be completed without both architects and engineers co-ordinating to achieve the same vision.
Often, those qualified in infrastructure projects will have an all-inclusive knowledge of the variety of processes. However, end-to-end communication avoids mistakes as infrastructure projects develop.
A lack of cross-industry collaboration and communication can lead to catastrophic results. Throughout history, there are numerous examples where a lack of communication between industries working on an infrastructure project has ultimately led to its failure.
A more recent example is the 2013 Mumbai building collapse. On 27th September a five-story building collapsed in the business district of Mumbai. At least 61 people died, and 32 others were injured in the disaster.
The building is said to have collapsed due to the construction of a mezzanine floor that was built without permission. In this instance, lack of communication with lawyers and authorities led to the production of an unsound building.
The collaboration between countries on infrastructure projects is a method that often creates successful end products. The ambitions of one country’s infrastructure plans could have direct benefits for others.
Often, countries invest time and money in a project initiated by neighbouring countries in order to collaborate funding and resources.
With the backing of a second economy, countries are often able to achieve projects quicker and to a higher standard.
Multiple partners reap the benefits of infrastructure, whether it is transport links, security or energy resources; cross-country collaboration is a common phenomenon.
A current example of this is the Lamu Port, South Sudan, Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET). This is a flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 as part of the government’s national development plan.
The corridor is planned to link Lamu, on Kenya’s coast to Juba, South Sudan. The project combines the development of a new port at Lamu, 2,240 km of the oil pipeline from Lamu to South Sudan and road and railway links to the west of Kenya.
The project is eventually intended to transform regional economies through increased trade and interconnectivity spanning from South Sudan and Ethiopia, all the way to Doula and Cameroon on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean.
These countries will collaborate throughout the projects construction in order to benefit from the results.
Collaboration permeates all aspects of infrastructure projects. From their inception to their completion, projects need collaboration to succeed.
Project managers wishing to succeed in their own projects; big or small will take a valuable understanding of collaboration and successful project management from viewing examples of infrastructure projects around the world.
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