Megaproject Organization and Performance



Book Title: Megaproject Organization and Performance: The Myth and Political Reality        
Authors:  N. Gil, C. Lundrigan, J. Pinto & P. Puranam
Publisher:  Project Management Institute
List Price:  $34.95
Format:  Soft cover, 170 pages
Publication Date:   December 2017
ISBN: 978-1-62825-176-0
Reviewer: Frank Murphy, PMP
Review Date: May 2018



This book summarizes a three-year study of mega projects, which are defined as   “project-based organizations purposely formed to develop capital-intensive, large-scale infrastructure systems”.  Project managers are always managing stakeholders, and this book gives a different view of who those stakeholders might be, and why they may wait till later in the process to voice their views.  Even though they wait, they impact the overall viability of the project and force radical design changes to satisfy them.

The fascinating part of the book is how assumptions can radically change and change background details for various projects.  The authors tell a project story that is easy to follow and shows how the size of the stakeholder is not important, but rather how their influence is wielded can impact the final product.  This is worth reading, and applicable whether you manage small or large projects.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The 170-pages are broken down into 5 chapters, with a natural progression in understanding the intricacies of megaprojects bringing them all together.  Chapter Two describes the organizational design for these projects, and the challenges in bringing together the right resources to fund and manage them.  Chapter Three discusses the performance of these organizations and the evolution of project goals.  Chapter Four highlights the optimism bias of the project promoters, and the challenges the project will face due to this mindset.  The final chapter switches gears and looks at megaprojects in developing economies to see if they face the same challenges.  Spoiler alert:  they do!

Each chapter gives a bountiful amount of references used for that chapter and is very helpful in looking for more information on particularly interesting topics.  The overall tone of the book is scholarly, but it is easy to follow the conclusions and look for more material on the various subjects.


Megaproject structural characteristics are described in a building block fashion and easy to understand.  Case studies are used on different projects and easily understandable diagrams are throughout and illustrate the concepts and methodologies the authors used.


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About the Reviewer

Frank Murphy

Texas, USA




Frank Murphy is a USAF veteran of 30 years, with multiple deployments and extensive travel on the 7 continents.  He was a Loadmaster on both C-5 and C-17 aircraft, with his final USAF assignment as the senior enlisted leader for an Operations Group.  Frank recently moved to the Texas Hill Country and is a member of the Project Management Institute (Alamo Chapter).

Frank has a BS in Industrial Technology, MBA in Strategic Leadership, and is completing a DBA at George Fox University. He has been a certified PMP since 2012 and has worked projects ranging from real estate to satellite transport.


Editor’s note:  Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the Alamo PMI Chapter in San Antonio, Texas. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Alamo 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 Alamo Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  PMI members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.   

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