Ed Merrow, President of research firm Independent Project Analysis, spoke on the execution of large and complex megaprojects to a packed house of IPMA World Congress delegates. He kicked off his keynote by pointing out that Brisbane, the host city of the event, is a centre of major project activity.
“This is one of the hottest project areas in the world,” he said.
Recognised as a subject matter expert on megaprojects, Merrow’s research found projects worth more than $1 billion “are having a tough go”.
“These megaprojects are failing by around 65 per cent,” he continued. By comparison, the study found the failure rate of projects worth less than $500 million to be around 35 per cent.
According to Merrow, ‘project failure’ occurs when the schedule slips or the project overspends by more than 25 per cent; the execution time is 50 per cent longer; or there are severe and continuing operational problems into the second year of the project.
Why do megaprojects fail so often? While the size and complexity of modern projects is a factor, Merrow believes weak practices are having a “devastating effect on project success rates”.
“This is a very serious problem in our profession.”
He went on to outline what he believes project managers can do to improve the success rate of megaprojects. These include having clear objectives, a fully integrated team, continuity of team leadership and excellence in the front-end loading and planning.
Article source: http://www.aipm.com.au/html/why_megaprojects_fail_new_research.cfm
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