Challenges & Best Practices of Managing Government Projects & Programs


pmwj35-Jun2015-Azam-BOOKBook Title: Challenges & Best Practices of Managing Government Projects & Programs   
Authors: Young Hoon Kwak, PhD, Min Liu, PhD,
Peerasit Patanakul, PhD, Ofer Zwikael, PhD, PMP
Publisher: PMI, Inc. USA
List Price: US$ 29.95
Format: Soft Cover; 74 Pages
Publication Date: 2014    
ISBN: 978-1-62825-065-7
Reviewer: Javed Azam, MBA, MSc, PME, P.G.
Review Date: May 2015



Projects and programs funded by governments are designed to achieve strategic long-term goals but due to their fundamental characteristics and how they are structured, often lead to failure with profound disruptions and financial ramifications. Government funded initiatives undertaken in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are researched. Project data associated with 39 large-scale and mega-projects (18 in USA, 6 in UK & 15 in Australia), collected from government audit reports across three principal sectors including Infrastructure and Transportation (13), Information Technologies/System (9), Defense (8) and Diverse/involving more than one sector (9), was analyzed. With an average cost of US$ 13 billion, the duration of all projects and programs was 8.8 years.

The research identified 6 key characteristics of Government Funded Projects and Programs (GFPP), and present 28 recommendations to improve processes and success factors. The analysis and recommendations presented in the book reinforces the importance of utilizing project/program management principles and systems that would lead to successful implementation of projects and thereby, reduce and/or prevent waste of taxpayers’ monies in the process.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book consists of seven chapters. The Chapter 1-Introduction, includes three sections that cover Motivations & Objectives, Literature Review & Research Approach & Data Analysis, while Chapter 2-Key Characteristics of Government Projects & Programs, covers six sub-sections describing 6 key characteristics and features of GFPP and builds the case for the next chapter. The 6 key characteristics include: (I) Non-Financial Benefits, (II) Political Environment, (III) Formal Process, (IV) Megaprojects, (V) Long Product Life Cycle and (VI) Multiple Stakeholders.

The Chapter 3-Recommendations for Government Projects & Programs, is the central part of the book and presents recommendations in each of the 6 key categorized characteristics outlined in chapter 2. The authors presented 28 key recommendations described in six categories.

The Chapter 4-Discussion, consists of five sub-sections and summarize the principles utilized, critical factors that affected outcomes with statistical analysis of data, and key findings and implications, while Chapter 5Concluding Remarks, summarizes the findings, recommendations and their implementations in policy and decision making useful for governmental officials and other stakeholders. Chapter 5 is followed by an Appendix with a list of the 39 projects and programs analyzed during the research with project name, country, sector and government owner. The book is enriched with References for easy retrieval of subject matters.

In order to equip the reader with the core subject matter, the authors devote less than 20% of the contents with introductory materials including introduction and 6 key characteristics of GFPP. More than 50% of the book deals with the core subject matter of recommendations for government projects and programs, and 30% of the remaining chapters include discussion, concluding remarks, appendix and reference.


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About the Reviewer


pmwj35-Jun2015-Azam-PHOTOJaved Azam, MBA, MSc, PME, P.G.

Dallas, Texas, USA




Javed Azam has more than 25 years of technical/engineering and management experience in conducting and leading projects in more than 15 countries (USA, W-Europe and SE-Asia). He served in progressively responsible positions as Regional Director, Program/Project Director and Chief Operating Officer of consulting engineering firms, and demonstrated his management, operations and leadership skills in the acquisition and implementation of complex and multidisciplinary projects (capacity enhancement, geotechnical, inspection/testing, environmental, infrastructure & water resources development) projects in often culturally challenging environments.

In addition to his technical certifications, Javed is a Licensed Professional Geoscientist (P.G., Geologist), Certified Professional Geologist (CPG), and a Certified Project Management Expert (PME). He is member of several professional organizations including the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He is an alumnus of University of Texas, University of California-Berkeley, and Delft University of Technology/ITC.

Javed is driven by passion, integrity, high performance teamwork, and servant leadership to deliver successful project/program outcomes, and provides expertise to his clients and quantifiable value to his organization. He serves as a Principal Consultant with Development Group International in Dallas, TX and can be reached at [email protected]


Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. If you are an author or publisher of a project management-related book, and would like the book reviewed through this program, please contact [email protected].