Brazilian Project Managers issue Manifesto and Open Letter to International Community – decry government mismanagement of World Cup projects


13 June 2014 – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil – A group of senior project managers and professional leaders in Brazil have issued a manifesto to decry the Brazilian government’s mismanagement of the projects associated with the FIFA 2014 World Cup football tournament that got underway there this week.  Their manifesto follows as an open letter to the international project management community, without edit:

Open Letter to the International Community of Project Management

We are Brazilians and Project Managers. We belong to a broad community that now has hundreds of thousands of recognized professionals providing high quality services. We are well trained, skilled, internationally certified, experienced, seasoned and passionate about our work and we seek to be very competent.

The global exposure of a number of national issues, in particular, the world attention to the mismanagement of public projects, during the FIFA World Cup BRAZIL 2014 revealed the tip of an iceberg of massive governmental chronic problems, as well granted to all Brazilian professional project managers undeserved accusation of incompetence.

To lead the program of FIFA World Cup BRAZIL 2014 the federal government nominated political allies and renowned soccer players who, in most cases, lacked the necessary knowledge in general management and / or project management. Political, not technical, criteria guided these decisions. The setup of a Project management office, staffed with qualified professional was not even considered. The large community of Brazilian project management professionals was not heard, not even consulted in such projects. The results were admittedly catastrophic in terms of delays, bursting budgets, adjustments of scope and claims of corruption in the administration of contracts.  Despite the serious issues, Government denied the severity of the situation, betting that Brazilian citizens would soon forget the problems experienced as Brazilian Team wins the world cup.

The irresponsible and inefficient way in which public projects were managed is source of shame and frustration for us (except for few rare exceptions). This deeply vexatious circumstance cuts deeply our professional pride and postpones the Brazilian dream of access to full life of opportunities, proportional to the potential of our territory and human capital.

Trusting these considerations we launch this manifesto, aiming to redirect the governance of public projects in our country, in the sincere hope to foster better results, good management practices, ethical principles, democracy and citizenship.

We sign this letter today, nominating ten urgent changes we consider extremely necessary:

1) For ethics in public projects in the three government levels (municipal, state and federal), so that they are idealized, proposed and implemented under the primacy of social interest, at the expense of restricted groups interests that might influence government and private companies.

2) That the public projects in three instances (municipal, state and federal) are always supported by a robust strategic planning, aimed at the social, economic and human development of the country, where a clear prioritization of education, health, security and critical infrastructure are considered. Thus, programs such as the FIFA World Cup BRAZIL 2014 must pass to be in harmony with existing strategic initiatives or otherwise, will simply not be mentioned or executed.

3) The authorization of public projects bust be grounded in solid and credible business case and not fictitious and forged feasibility studies, that exaggerate the demonstration of benefits, but hide the real political motivation, or financial interests of dominant economic groups.

4) Professional project  managers, program managers  and portfolio managers must be appointed to led the portfolios of public projects in three levels (municipal, state and federal) without the interference of politics in the ethical conduction of their technical work.

5) All stakeholders must be heard and informed in a direct and transparent way, from the moment of evaluation of major projects and their justifications, through the release of its deliverables, by proper and regular status reporting, for the clarification about scope changes and baselines (scope, time and cost) and technical and independent reporting of final results achieved.

6) Problems in public Project must transparently communicated and corrective actions must Always be in place and be announced, ceasing policy of good excuses, denial of problems and “scapegoats”.

7) Major public projects must be audited impartially, independently and transparently by the Federal Court of Accounts (Supreme Audit Institution) which must have certified project management professional in their teams.

8) The law of bids for major public projects must be be enhanced, in the name of speed and efficiency, contemplating the introduction of requirements related to good practices of project management by contracted parties. This law must be strictly enforced in defense of the real interests of society.

9) A rigid policy of consequences must be in place and it must exclude from public bidding, companies involved in corruption. The professional project managers involved in corruption must lose their professional accreditations, and the politicians involved in corruption must lose their political rights and that both must be criminal and civil responsible for damage caused to society.

10) Governance mechanisms must be in place to ensure that the portfolio of public projects is no longer used as an instrument of electoral manipulation but effective in generating benefits and real value for Brazilian society.

Signing this letter,

Alonso Mazini Soler,

André Baptista Barcaui,

Américo Pinto,

Carlos Magno da Silva Xavier,

Carlos Eduardo Freire Gurgel,

Fabiana Bigão Silva,

Farhad Abdollahyan,

José Finocchio Jr.,

Luiz Fernando da Silva Xavier,

Mauro Afonso Sotille,

Osmar Zózimo de Souza Jr.,

Paulo Keglevich.