10 Dec 2019

The Future Management of Large-Scale Projects

Guest writer, Large scale projects, David Porter
The Future Management of Large-Scale Projects


Project managers are expected to effectively manage large and complex projects or programmes, but it is widely recognised that these large-scale projects are not always delivered as planned. In liaison with the client, project managers commit to delivering the defined scope, within a forecast time and to a designated budget. 

Despite the unavoidable optimism bias of project managers, in which we hear “not my projects, my projects are different”, the statistics around project delivery tell us majority of projects face budget overruns and delays. Nine out of 10 projects go over budget , with time overruns also being a major issue. It is true that some projects are delivered successfully, although the odds are not in favour of largescale projects.
 

HOW DO OTHER INDUSTRIES GET IT RIGHT?

In other industries, such as the medical field, consistent developments and advances are made to its technology, and due to these advancements, medical outcomes are vastly improved as time goes on. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for project delivery. Statistically we are just not getting much better, and that means that what we as projects managers have been doing up until now is not working effectively enough.

When surgeons prepare for a surgery there are fundamentals to be undertaken, such as effective testing, accurate diagnoses, precise anaesthetic, high levels of cleanliness and controlled recovery. The meticulous steps are taken so that innovative medical interventions can be made safely and effectively.

 

 

THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT INDUSTRY NEEDS TO RAISE THE BAR

Current project management systems lack the big innovative methods that make a stepped difference. It seems project management has become static, and we need to move beyond the focus on more methodologies, more systems, more detail, more reporting and essentially, more work. The world is on the verge of a massive technological and social shift due to advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, increased connectivity, big data and the like. These changes provide project management, and professional service industries in general, with huge opportunity but also major risk.

 

THOSE WHO DON’T MOVE WITH TECHNOLOGY WILL BE LEFT BEHIND

Our profession must reposition its thinking and to step away from the heavy investment project management has in the status quo. We are going to have to experiment, and unfortunately we are not afforded the benefits of lab mice the way that medical scientists are.

Socio-technical change is upon us and our profession must maintain but move beyond the past paradigm of disciplined project planning, management and reporting that has long been the dominant underlying philosophy.



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WRITTEN BY: ENDEAVOUR PROGRAMME FOUNDER AND MANAGING DIRECTOR DAVID PORTER 

David is an experienced and innovative business leader, with an extensive background in project development and delivery across a wide range of industries. His established career has made him an expert at understanding and interpreting key drivers of success, both in major projects and business, and how these interfaces with the opportunities and risks.