The Importance of an Effective Project Management Approach to EU Projects – A Case Study: CBRN COE Project Failure Means Putting the EU’s Security at Risk



By Kamil Mroz

Managing Director
European Centre for Project Excellence SCS

Brussels, Belgium



CBRN are weaponized or non-weaponized Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) materials that can cause great harm and pose significant threats in the hands of terrorists. Recently, the European Union (EU) together with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) have established some CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) in several regions worldwide. The objective of these CoEs is to mitigate CBRN risks of criminal, accidental or natural origin by promoting a coherent policy, improving coordination and preparedness at national and regional levels and by offering a comprehensive approach covering legal, scientific, enforcement and technical issues. This is planned to be done through projects, but also establishing these CoEs in eight different regions is a complex project in itself that requires an effective plan, execution and project management approach. The relevant EU initiative currently covers African Atlantic Façade; Central Asia; Eastern and Central Africa; Gulf Cooperation Council Countries; Middle East; North Africa; South East Asia; South East Europe, Southern Caucasus, Moldova and Ukraine. In each region a regional secretariat has been or is being established to assist partner countries in the assessment of national needs, to facilitate the implementation of projects and to provide technical support to national chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear teams, in particular in the development of related national action plans and the development or enhancement of an integrated policy in this area.

Although the European Commission (EC) uses the Project Cycle Management (PCM), which is an approach of management activities and decision-making procedures used during the life cycle of a project. There is no standardized project management methodology approach highlighted in the stated plans for the “The Cycle of Activities” of the CoEs. According to PMI, program failure in government can have dreadful consequences. In addition to the very bad visibility of being seen mismanaging public initiatives, project failure can results in taxpayer funds being wasted. Not to mention that in the current political and economic circumstances, the ‘euro-crisis’ governments are highly scrutinize on their spending. According to PMI, government organizations in the USA risk $148 million for every $1 billion dollars spent, which demonstrates that government lags behind private industry in key success areas that point a way forward for effectively managing programs.

This same assumption applied to the CoE initiative means that without a standardized project management approach, it will be more difficult to realize the stated goals and benefits of this initiative in general. There are different project management methodologies that cater to the needs of different projects spanned across different domains such as PMP, PRINCE2, EXIN AGILEPM and IPMA. Not to mention, there is a wealth of knowledge on establishing Project Management Offices as a basis of international best-practices. This paper emphasises the need for a standardized project management approach to assure success of the CoE initiatives. Just as with other EU-funded projects, not only is the tax-payers money at stake – but potentially the increased risk of a CBRN event, which is even more disastrous for the reputation of Europe and safety of its citizens.

This paper will also explore the importance of an effective project management approach in the execution of CBRN CoE and their projects and emphasize that in the cycle of the activities of the programme there are two important steps that must be managed with a careful project management approach (project implementation and benefits realization). Also, the paper will examine examples best-practices in implementing a strong project management approach in the public sector to see how the EU can learn from best practices in other countries that have an integrated project management approach.


To read entire paper (click here)

Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 4th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2015. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers.


About the Author

pmwj37-Aug2015-Mroz-PHOTOKamil Mroz

Brussels, Belgium



Kamil Mroz
(PRINCE2 Practitioner, LSS Black Belt) is the Managing Director of the European Centre for Project Excellence SCS in Belgium.

Kamil graduated from the University of Ottawa with a double Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry, later completing a Masters of Arts in International Relations at the Brussels School of International Studies (University of Kent), where he also served as the President of the Graduates’ Student Union. In 2013, he received the IPMA Young Project Manager of the Year and in 2014 he was awarded the Young Alumni of the Year by the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa. In addition, he is frequently invited as a keynote speaker on leadership, entrepreneurship, community development, project management and youth empowerment. He enjoys contributing to articles and publications in sharing his experience in project management, and in 2014 was invited to write the forward to Peter Taylor’s (award winning author) book entitled “Real Project Management”.

Kamil was invited twice as ‘Leader of Tomorrow’ to the St. Gallens’ Symposium, received a Coin of Excellence from the Canadian Chief of Defence Staff and is currently the President of JCI ‘The Heart of Europe’, which aims to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. He is also known to have conceptualized and led two successful international projects as a volunteer Project Manager (Quo Vadis Leadership Conference and Your Future).

Kamil can be contacted at [email protected]