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Investment Provides Boost To Professional Project Management

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 20th September 2011

The UK government is rumoured to be discussing a £5bn investment in infrastructure investment in projects ranging from road, rail and broadband investment, although not an official plan “B”, the aim is to stimulate economic growth in the UK, without pulling in overseas exports.
Treasury Danny Alexander Chief Secretary to the Treasury insists that this is not a diversion from the aim of eliminating the structural deficit within the lifetime of the Parliament.

“We are straining every sinew to find new things that government can do to support growth, to help private sector businesses to lead the economic recovery,” he said.

“But of course a key part of that is to retain the credibility that we’ve built up as a country by sticking to the deficit reduction plan that this coalition put in place when we first came into office.”

But has the project management community in the UK got the professional capability to deliver these projects successful?
The track record in the delivery of government infrastructure projects is not good!

According to the work of Prof. Dr. Bent Flyvbjerg the record around the word the performance on the delivery of major infrastructure projects is not good. Based on a study of a wide range of projects around the world he concluded that many major projects suffer significant overruns in terms of cost.

Type of project

No. of cases (N)

Avg. cost overrun %

Standard deviation

Rail

58

44.7

38.4

Bridges & tunnels

33

33.8

62.4

Road

167

20.4

29.9

 
Given this historic performance the government could waste significant amounts of a very limits budget without getting the expected benefits.
Is professional project management a critical component of these projects?

Given the desire to invest in major infrastructure projects the professional project management is going to be critical to the success of these programmes. The Olympic 2021 programme has demonstrated the effectiveness of high quality project management to deliver complex projects on time to cost. The question is what plans the government has to ensure any major infrastructure investment programme is supported by professional project management.

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