Awards for research investigating why mega projects fail

By Andy Brown26 May 2021

Construction of Jubail in Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest civil engineering projects of modern times

Research on the reasons why some mega projects are significantly over time and budget has received two awards.

The research paper, What are the causes and cures of megaproject performance, published in Project Management Journal (PMJ) was the most cited and most downloaded paper of the year – it has been downloaded 22,000 times.

Authors Dr Juliano Denicol, Professor Andrew Davies and Dr Ilias Krystallis reviewed more than 6,000 academic summaries, and analysed 86 papers in full while writing the report.

The study found that, while it is not possible to identify one factor leading to failure, there are six key factors. They are: decision-making behaviour; strategy, governance and procurement; risk and uncertainty; leadership and capable teams; stakeholder engagement and management; supply chain integration and coordination.

The team has set a research agenda and proposed five future avenues to advance the successful delivery of megaprojects. These are: designing the system architecture; bridging the gap with manufacturing; building and leading collaborations; engaging institutions and communities; decomposing and integrating the supply chain.

Dr Juliano Denicol, from The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, said, “I’m absolutely delighted that our review of performance in megaprojects received two awards from Project Management Journal.

“This recognition will encourage and inspire future research on megaprojects with different industrial partners.”

Read the full paper here.

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