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D31PS-Project Management: Strategic Issues


Class Exercise/ Tutorial

Project Management in the construction industry, or in general, can now be considered to be

a relatively mature discipline. However, despite this, the record of project delivery in
construction, and in general, remains poor. Recently completed audits have suggested that
project management, per se, fails to deliver projects successfully with alarming frequency. In
the case of construction, recent figures suggest that as many as 50% of all projects end up
failing to meet the delivery targets set for them. Such problems are not unique to the
construction industry; in the IT sector projects encounter an estimated 70% failure rate. This
should be alarming to all those involved in a profession that is dedicated to the successful
delivery of projects.

If project management is to improve its track record in project delivery, it is necessary to fully
understand the reasons for project failure. If reasons for project failure can be fully understood
and appreciated, the project management profession can work towards the achievement of
better and more consistent project delivery.


Work in groups of 6 people

This exercise requires you to select a project, either from the list below, or a project of your
own choice (flagship project). You are required to produce a short report which forwards an
analysis of the most likely reasons for project failure. Projects you may choose from include:-
(i) The Scottish Parliament Building (3.5 years late; £300M over budget);
(ii) The British Library (5 Years late; £400M over budget)
(iii) The Channel Tunnel Project (1 Year late; £5Bn over budget)
(iv) Wembley Stadium (1 Year late; £70 million over budget)
(v) Edinburgh Trams (3 year late; >£400M (>600 with interest) over budget; less
(vi) A significant project of your own choice.

Your report should include the following 3 key sections:

(i) An introduction to the project you have chosen;
(ii) An analysis of the reasons that explain the delays or cost increases
encountered during the project;
(iii) An analysis of the relationship between the problems you identify in (ii) and
the role of project management (in other words, an analysis of the extent to
which the projects' management could be held be responsible);