PPM – A “Silver Bullet” for Eliminating Failure of Projects in Developing Nations


By O. Chima Okereke, PhD

Herefordshire, UK

The experience over the years of abandoned and failed projects with colossal loss of invested funds should constrain the adoption of a project delivery process that yields healthy and rewarding returns on investment for nations and companies. It is generally accepted that failure of projects could be as high as 70 percent globally [1]. Failure in this case could mean inability to complete a project or completing a project with over-run budget or beyond agreed completion date or not completing the work agreed in the scope and failing to meet the agreed quality specifications. However, the problem in focus in this paper is more than such failures and includes the high incidence of failure of supposedly successful projects which have been formally commissioned and put into operation. A few years after the commissioning, the deliverable starts failing until it completely ceases to be in operation. It is then abandoned and it adds to the number of abandoned and failed projects in the industrial landscape of various developing nations.

These projects are by no means limited to those initiated internally within developing nations by their governments or organisations. No, they include those funded by the World Bank, other UN agencies, USAID, European Union, other foreign governments and development agencies, and implemented in developing countries. It is unhelpful that this phenomenon is an ongoing occurrence.

The objective in this paper is to explore how the application of project portfolio management (PPM) could be used as a “silver bullet” to eliminate failure and abandonment of projects in developing nations. The write-up consists of the following sections:

  1. Definition and explanations of the problem
  2. Impact of the failure
  3. What is PPM?
  4. How could PPM be used as a silver bullet to eliminate project failures?
  5. Concluding remarks

Starting with more in-depth description on the first section as follows:

1. Definition and explanations of the problem

This section will highlight failure and abandonment of projects in the following two sub-sections:

  • The failure to complete approved and awarded projects;
  • The failure to sustain the deliverables of completed projects.

1.1 The failure to complete approved and awarded projectsIn most cases, the reason for failure to complete approved and awarded projects is due to corruption. It is the fact that the contractors have collected full payment for the project without completing the tasks involved in the project. They ensure that the supervising officers are paid properly to connive at their crime and collude with them. An example was the case of a group of contractors indicted by a government contract review panel and were ordered to refund the state the sum N367 million (about $2.9 million)[5]. This is so widespread that it cuts across various industries and many developing nations.


To read entire paper (click here)



About the Author

Chima Okereke, PhD, PMP

Herefordshire, UK

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Dr. O. Chima Okereke, Ph.D., MBA, PMP is the Managing Director and CEO of Total Technology Consultants, Ltd., a project management consulting company working in West Africa and the UK. He is a visiting professor, an industrial educator, a multidisciplinary project management professional, with over 25 years’ experience in oil and gas, steel and power generation industries. For example, On December 26th 2013, he completed an assignment as a visiting professor in project management; teaching a class of students on Master’s degree in project management in the Far Eastern Federal University, Vladivostok, Russia. In August and September 2013, he conducted an innovative, and personally developed training programme for seventy six well engineers of Shell Nigeria to enhance the efficiency of their operations using project and operations management processes. Before embarking on a career in consulting, he worked for thirteen years in industry rising to the position of a chief engineer with specialisation in industrial controls and instrumentation, electronics, electrical engineering and automation. During those 13 years, he worked on every aspect of projects of new industrial plants including design, construction and installation, commissioning, and engineering operation and maintenance in process industries. Chima sponsored and founded the potential chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, acting as president from 2004 to 2010.

Dr. Okereke has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, and a PhD and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Bradford in the UK. He also has a PMP® certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) which he passed at first attempt. He has been a registered engineer with COREN in Nigeria since 1983. For many years, Total Technology has been a partner for Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, a representative in Nigeria of Oracle University for training in Primavera project management courses, and a Gold Level member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN. He is a registered consultant with several UN agencies. More information can be found at http://www.totaltechnologyconsultants.org/.

Chima is the publisher of Project Management Business Digest, a blog aimed at helping organizations use project management for business success. Dr. Okereke is also an international editorial advisor for the PM World Journal and PM World Library. He can be contacted at mailto:[email protected] or [email protected].

To view other works by Dr. Okereke, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-o-chima-okereke/