Why hybrid projects fail

Development of a retrospective assessment method for hybrid projects



By Benjamin Auer and Philipp Rosenberger

Vienna, Austria



The project business in the IT sector is constantly growing and the budgets of IT departments are getting bigger and bigger, even though according to studies only 16,2% of all projects are successful. (Standish Group, 2015) There is a trend that tries to mix the classic and agile project methods. The target of this approach is to apply best practices of those two methods (e.g. faster “time to market” and flexibility) while trying to keep the organizational structures and -processes (Komus et al., 2015). A difficulty is that there is no exact definition of how a hybrid project should be executed. Another problem is that the role of project manager does not exist in the agile approach.

The other challenge is that projects are normally measured based on key performance indicators. But there is no clear definition on what a key performance indicator is and what it is not. Therefore, projects are not comparable with the use of key performance indicators. (Parmenter 2015). Do to this lack of measuring, project risks are increasingly threatening project success (Csiszarik-Kocsir et al 2017). According to studies there are eight reasons why projects fail and by means of expert interviews those eight reasons have been confirmed and the list was expanded, including four additional reasons (Coolman A. 2016).

This paper presents a review system for hybrid projects with which it is possible to check if projects have failed due to known obstacles. In addition, two possible definition models for hybrid projects are presented in detail, as well as the possible results of each individual phase (start, execution and close-down) that every project passes through. By means of literature research and interviews, stumbling blocks were identified as to why projects could fail. Based on these stumbling blocks, questions were developed for a retrospective assessment method. Based on these questions, an expert can evaluate whether the failure of the project coincides with one of the identified obstacles/reasons. In an excurs, possible key figures for hybrid projects are presented.

Key words: hybrid project, projects fail, key performance indicators,

JEL code: H43 (project evaluation)


The 2015 Chaos Report found that only 16.2 percent of all projects could be considered successful. An additional 52.7 percent has come to an end, but at least one of the aspects was outside the magic triangle (quality, time and cost). The remaining projects were never completed and stopped in between. (Standish Group, 2015)

When the study published by the German Project Management Association (GPM) is used, 39 percent of the projects in the surveyed companies are executed with using a hybrid approach. In 25 percent of the projects, a situational approach is selected (classic, agile or hybrid). If one assumes that the 25 percent can be split linearly, one recognizes that more than 47 percent of the projects in the surveyed companies are handled with a hybrid approach. (Komus et al., 2015)

The challenge of hybrid projects is that they try to do the splits between two mythologies. On the one side, there are the existing structures and organizations of a company, on the other side one tries to use the advantages of the agile approach. For this purpose, an attempt by Mr. Habermann was published, in which the interaction between an agile approach and a classical approach in a laboratory simulation was recreated. (Habermann 2013) The result of this simulation containing 26 teams and showed, that a hybrid approach was superior to full agile or full classical project approaches. Based on this conclusion, it seems that hybrid models can become more common in the future.


To read entire article, click here


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 most recent Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States at the University of Latvia in Riga in April 2018.  It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers

How to cite this paper: Auer, B., and Rosenberger, P. (2018). Why hybrid projects fail – Development of a retrospective assessment method for hybrid projects; Proceedings of the 7th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, Riga, Latvia, April 2018; republished in the PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue X – October.  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/pmwj75-Oct2018-Auer-Rosenberger-Why-Hybrid-Projects-Fail.pdf


About the Authors

Benjamin Auer

Vienna, Austria




Since 2006 Benjamin Auer has been working as a team leader and project manager in various projects and industries. Currently he is working in the insurance sector as an IT project manager in a program that replaces the existing ECM group-wide. Before that he was an IT project manager in the field of individual software development with a focus on the introduction of ERP systems. Prior to that he worked as project manager for a tunnel construction project in the field of communications engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in project management and IT and a Master of Science in technical management.  Benjamin Auer can be contacted at [email protected]


Philipp Rosenberger

Vienna, Austria




Philipp Rosenberger is a lecturer at FH Campus Vienna at master program technical management focusing on IT project management in an agile development context. After many years in aftersales and business consulting as well as project management and especially IT project management development in Europe and China, he got into the financial sector, managing the implementation of a current account financial product implementation project at ING DiBa Online bank in Vienna and in parallel starting his consulting company ROSCON.at. Philipp now focuses on scientific research of hybrid IT project management models, fulfilling the both needs of a tightly managed classical project regarding budget, cost, quality, predictability and reliability, as well as the needs of an agile culture in the development part of the project. Philipp can be contacted at mailto:[email protected]



Welcome to the October 2017 PMWJ

The Proverbial 8 Ball, Unmet Deadlines, De-scoping… and Welcome to the October edition of the PM World Journal

David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the October 2017 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ), the 63rd uninterrupted monthly edition.  This edition contains 20 original articles, papers and other works by 22 different authors in 12 different countries.  News articles about projects and project management around the world are also included. Since the primary mission of this journal is to support the global sharing of knowledge, please share this month’s edition with others in your network, wherever in the world they may be.

For the past year I have used this opportunity to mention important trends or issues that I see as journal editor.  This month, I want to discuss a common issue on projects of all types and sizes, and one that has affected me personally again this month.  That is, the inability to meet an important deadline.  In my case, this edition of the journal should have been published a week ago.  As is often the case, procrastination and unexpected events led to this situation.  How many of you have experienced this problem?

Behind the Proverbial 8 Ball

In the game of pool (billiards), one’s cue ball occasionally ends up directly behind the 8 ball.  You are not supposed to hit the 8 ball directly with the cue ball, and having the cue ball hidden behind the 8 ball very frequently makes it impossible to make another good shot. This situation can often lead to losing the game.  In the United States, the term “behind the 8 ball” has come to mean being in a difficult or even impossible situation.  Missing a deadline often feels this way.  That’s how I felt this week as I struggled to find the time to complete and publish the PMWWJ.  A sudden death in the family required three days of travel; another family emergency took days to resolve; a government contract required attention.  As a friend stated some time ago, life intervened.  I should have planned better; I should have done the work sooner; perhaps I could have found more help.  One result: this edition contains fewer contents than any other this year.

Unmet Deadlines, What now?

What should you do when it becomes apparent that you or your team cannot meet an approaching deadline or milestone? Too often, the answer includes schedule slippage and/or reducing the scope of work, reducing the number of deliverables or otherwise de-scoping the project.  I have to now be honest with you, I don’t have time to discuss this in any more detail but instead want to refer you to the article this month by Oliver Lehmann titled “Crisis in Your Customer Project? Try Benefit Engineering”.  This is a brilliant article, focusing on delivering customer benefits rather than just traditional project performance measures.  As Oliver suggests, admit and confront the problem, study the impact on the benefits your project delivers, discuss it with the customer and figure out how to maximize benefits under the current conditions.  This might not be easy, but it’s probably better than being penalized, deteriorating relations with the customer (and/or other stakeholders), or even losing a contract (or future business).  That’s my two cents in the little time I have today. Maybe I can take up this issue again in the future if it is of interest to readers.

Now – This month in the Journal

This is a smaller edition of the PMWJ, with only 20 original works when our normal volume is more than 30. Nevertheless, this month’s edition includes some major works and important ones.  Several dig into risk management from various perspectives, industry and otherwise. The three series articles address a like topic, project management in the commercial world where survival also means keeping the customer happy while making a profit.  But please study the table of contents yourself and decide those of interest.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL



David L. Pells is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.net) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (www.pmworldlibrary.net). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and international programs, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national nuclear security program.

David Pells has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice.  He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world. David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); and Russian Project Management Association.  Since 2010 he is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (since 2012).  David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA.  He has published widely and spoken at conferences and events worldwide.  David lives near Dallas, Texas and can be contacted at [email protected] 

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/





Book Title:    KNOWledge SUCCESSion: Sustained Performance & Capability Growth Through Strategic Knowledge Projects
Author:  Dr. Arthur Shelley
Publisher:  Business Expert Press
List Price:   $34.95              Format:  Soft cover
Publication Date:   2017       ISBN: 978-1-63157-158-9
Reviewer:     Diana Romagnoli
Review Date:   September 2017



This book is an excellent mix of business and academic writing “making sense of project barriers and paths toward multidisciplinary concepts.  This approach provides solutions in a portfolio of strategic endeavors and projects.

The author, Arthur Shelley, provides tried practical recommendations on leading teams to sustained strategic success.  The subject matter is vital!  The Knowledge Succession in our business environment is a subject that should not be minimized or overlooked as “taking care of itself.”  This book gives it the priority it deserves.

Overview of Book’s Structure

With twelve chapters and 200 pages, this book begins with practical business acumen for the seasoned professional.  The last few chapters hit the subjects of communication and professional relationships – key to every leader!

The chapters begin with an Executive Summary providing a snapshot of the points covered in the body of the chapter subject and then wrap up with a case which is very effective.  I enjoyed that the case was pulled from experience with organizations across the globe.


The highlights of this book were the business and academic language is uses and has mastered beautifully.  On one hand he is giving us the business aspects of an issue or challenge and on the other hand he is teaching us the best practices to provide a solution or solutions.  He does this throughout the book.  He actually mentions and discusses the methods of writing in his communication chapter (Chapter 9), an excellent chapter.


To read entire Book Review, click here


About the Reviewer

Diana Romagnoli

Texas, USA


Diana Romagnoli
, MBA, PMP has 30 years’ experience in the health care industry.  Diana lives in Texas and works nationwide for a large enterprise health system based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


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]



October 2017 Report from Spain

AEDIP event at Colegio de Ingenieros de Canales y Puertos” in Madrid on 21 September


By Alfonso Bucero

International Correspondent & Editorial Advisor

Madrid, Spain


Spanish Project management activities are restarting in September

AEDIP (Project management Association from the Construction Industry), organized an event on last September 21st where joined 120 project professionals at “Colegio de Ingenieros de Canales y Puertos” in Madrid (Spain), to debate public and private collaboration contracts and Project management.

They were analyzing, from different point of views, what the best practices should be in order to allow a successful implementation, taking into account that we are talking about long duration contracts (usually from 10 to 30 years) where remuneration is linked to the appropriate performance. At this event attended construction, consultants, engineering and Project Management firms, who added and Shared their experiences about that type of contract, locally and internationally.

The event program was as follows:

Opening Session – Leticia Sauco Sevilla (AEDIP President)

Leticia welcomed all the attendees and introduced the event agenda:

The value shared among PPP Contracts and Project Management.

“PPP trends in the Market” – Pedro Michelena Izquierdo (INFRAESTRUCTURAS fórum President)

Past lessons learned and future ideas for a new collaboration public-private model.

“The PPP cycle and the PPP Certification Program – CP3P ©” – Andrés Rebollo (K-Infra CEO)

The PPP cycle from from its identification to delivery and operation. PPP Certification Program.

“Smart Cities and PPPs” – Miquel Rodríguez Planas (IESE Manager – PPP for Cities) Cities have been converted into a World engine on the 21st century. Smart cities are offering solutions to the urban challenges.


To read entire report, click here for (English) or (Spanish)


About the Author

Alfonso Bucero

Contributing Editor

International Correspondent – Spain


Alfonso Bucero, MSc, PMP, PMI-RMP, PfMP, PMI Fellow, is an International Correspondent and Contributing Editor for the PM World Journal in Madrid, Spain. Mr. Bucero is also founder and Managing Partner of BUCERO PM Consulting.  Alfonso was the founder, sponsor and president of the PMI Barcelona Chapter until April 2005, and belongs to PMI’s LIAG (Leadership Institute Advisory Group).  He was the past President of the PMI Madrid Spain Chapter, and now nominated as a PMI EMEA Region 8 Component Mentor. Alfonso has a Computer Science Engineering degree from Universidad Politécnica in Madrid and is studying for his Ph.D. in Project Management. He has 29 years of practical experience and is actively engaged in advancing the PM profession in Spain and throughout Europe. He received the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award on October 9th, 2010 and the PMI Fellow Award on October 22nd 2011.  Mr. Bucero can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Alfonso Bucero, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alfonso-bucero/



Finland Project Management Roundup for October 2017

Updates on Project Management Association Finland; PMI Finland Chapter; Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant; Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant; Helsinki’s Länsimetro extension; Raide-Jokeri light rail transit project


By Dr Jouko Vaskimo

International Correspondent & Senior Contributing Editor

Espoo, Finland



This roundup continues the coverage of Project Management Association Finland, PMI Finland Chapter, and the key projects currently going on in Finland.


Project Management Association Finland (PMAF), Projektiyhdistys ry in Finnish, is a not-for-profit organization, and the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Member Association (MA) in Finland. Founded in 1978, PMAF promotes the interaction, project-oriented thinking, and exchange and development of practical and theoretical knowledge among project management professionals with over 4000 individual and 200 organizational members.

PMAF promotes the development and dissemination of project and project management knowledge. PMAF members are able to enjoy information sharing, workgroups, development projects, project management forums, conferences and certification services PMAF provides. PMAF organizes two annual conferences: Project Days (Projektipäivät in Finnish) in early November, and 3PMO in early June. This year the Project Days event takes place on 31.10. – 1.11.2017 in the Helsinki Fair Center. Please navigate to www.projektipaivat.fi , www.pry.fi/en and www.3pmo.fi for further information on PMAF and its main events.


PMI Finland Chapter is a not-for-profit organization providing project practitioners in Finland continuous learning, networking and community support. The Chapter was founded in 2005. Today, with more than 400 members, the chapter is increasingly recognized as place where its members can enhance their project management and leadership skills, as well as network with other project management professionals.

PMI Finland Chapter hosts a number of events such as Breakfast Round Tables, regular meetings taking place once a month in Helsinki and occasionally also in other locations. The chapter members have the opportunity to attend events for free or with a discount and the chapter sends its members a regular newsletter with localized content on project management. Additionally, the Chapter supports its members in their professional development and training.

PMI Chapter Finland has a tradition of organizing an annual conference in the spring. This year the conference took place on May 10th, in Helsinki, with an overarching theme “Change!”. Please navigate to www.pmifinland.org and www.conference.pmifinland.org for further information on the PMI Finland Chapter and its main events.


The 1 600 MW Olkiluoto 3 nuclear power plant, originally contracted to be built by consortium comprising of Areva and Siemens for Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) at Olkiluoto, is nearing completion. Despite this, TVO remains concerned about Areva making sufficient resources available to complete the plant without further delays. Once completed – nine years behind original time schedule and over 5 500 M€ over budget – the Olkiluoto 3 unit will be the largest nuclear power plant in the world.

The third nuclear power unit to be constructed at Olkiluoto is expected to provide full power in commercial power production in late 2018 – assuming that the remaining works proceed as expected. Nuclear fuel is being delivered to the plant, however, TVO does not publish the exact fueling schedule. The first fuel charge is expected to be loaded in the reactor in January 2018; the start-up is expected to be initiated in June 2018. At this moment TVO believes the plant will be ready for continuous commercial power generation at the end of 2018.


To read entire report, click here


About the Author

Dr Jouko Vaskimo

Espoo, Finland



Jouko Vaskimo is an International Correspondent and Senior Contributing Editor for PM World in Finland. Jouko graduated M.Sc. (Tech.) from Helsinki University of Technology in 1992, and D.Sc. (Tech.) from Aalto University in 2016. He has held several project management related positions with increasing levels for responsibility. Jouko holds a number of professional certificates in the field of project management, such as the IPMA Level C (Project Manager), IPMA Level B (Senior Project Manager), PMP, PRINCE2 Foundation, and PRINCE2 Practitioner. Jouko is also a Certified Scrum Master and SAFe Agilist.

Jouko is a member of the Project Management Association Finland, a founding member of PMI Finland Chapter, and the immediate past chairman of the Finnish IPMA Certification Body operating IPMA certification in Finland. Since October 2007, he has been heading the Finnish delegation to ISO/TC 258.

Jouko resides in Espoo, Finland and can be best contacted at [email protected]. For more information please navigate to www.linkedin.com/in/jouko-vaskimo-6285b51.

To view other works by Jouko Vaskimo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/jouko-vaskimo/



ISO TC258 convenes in Melbourne

ISO/TC 258, ISO Technical Committee for Project, Program, and Portfolio Management, convenes in Melbourne, Australia


By Dr Jouko Vaskimo

Finland standards representative to ISO/TC 258

Espoo, Finland


ISO/TC 258
, the Technical Committee (TC) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) set up to work with standards in the field of project, program, and portfolio management, convened for the eighth plenary meeting at Melbourne, Australia, on September 11th … 15th 2017. The participants – 28 representing 17 national standardization bodies – were warmly welcomed to Melbourne and to the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) building at Swinburne Business School by Professor Keryn Chalmers, Dean of Swinburne Business School, and Professor Russell Kenley, Professor of Management at Swinburne Business School, hosting the meeting. Mr Patrick Weaver, Head of the Australian Delegation, and the representative of the local national standardization body Standards Australia, also welcomed ISO/TC 258 plenary participants to Melbourne.

ISO/TC 258 Melbourne plenary meeting participants (photos courtesy Jouko Vaskimo)

ISO/TC 258 main initiatives include Working Group WG3 developing a vocabulary of terms used in projects, programs and portfolios, WG6 developing an ISO standard on Work Breakdown Structures, WG7 developing an ISO standard on Earned Value Management, and Ad-Hoc Group AHG8 investigating the development of ISO standard on project management competences.

At the time of the Melbourne event ISO/TC 258 had 39 participating (P) members, 14 observing (O) members, and 18 liaisons.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States are current ISO/TC 258 P – members.

Belarus, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Lithuania, Morocco, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Uganda are current ISO/TC 258 O – members.

College of Performance Management (CPM), Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS), International Project Management Association (IPMA), and Project Management Institute (PMI) are ISO/TC 258 liaison organizations.

Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering international (AACEi) has applied for ISO/TC 258 liaison position, however, a ballot on the issue is currently open.

ISO/IEC JTC1, Information Technology, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7, Software and systems engineering, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC40, IT Service management and governance, ISO/TC20, Aircraft and space vehicles, ISO/TC176/SC2, Quality systems, ISO/PC280, Management consultancy, and ISO/TC309, Governance of Organizations are liaison committees to ISO/TC 258.

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC7, Software and systems engineering, ISO/IEC JTC1/SC40, IT Service management and governance, ISO/TC20, Aircraft and space vehicles, ISO/TC176, Quality management and quality assurance, ISO/TC176/SC1, Concepts and terminology, ISO/TC176/SC2, Quality systems, and ISO/PC280, Management consultancy are liaison committees from ISO/TC 258.

Professor Dr Russell Kenley was happy to host the meeting, and commented “the Faculty of Business & Law, Swinburne University of Technology, was delighted to host the 8th annual ISO/TC 258 plenary this year, as we prepare to launch our new Master of Project Management for 2018….


To read entire report, click here


About the Author

Dr Jouko Vaskimo

Espoo, Finland



Jouko Vaskimo is an International Correspondent and Senior Contributing Editor for PM World in Finland. Jouko graduated M.Sc. (Tech.) from Helsinki University of Technology in 1992, and D.Sc. (Tech.) from Aalto University in 2016. He has held several project management related positions with increasing levels for responsibility. Jouko holds a number of professional certificates in the field of project management, such as the IPMA Level C (Project Manager), IPMA Level B (Senior Project Manager), PMP, PRINCE2 Foundation, and PRINCE2 Practitioner. Jouko is also a Certified Scrum Master and SAFe Agilist.

Jouko is a member of the Project Management Association Finland, a founding member of PMI Finland Chapter, and the immediate past chairman of the Finnish IPMA Certification Body operating IPMA certification in Finland. Since October 2007, he has been heading the Finnish delegation to ISO/TC 258.

Jouko resides in Espoo, Finland and can be best contacted at [email protected]. For more information please navigate to www.linkedin.com/in/jouko-vaskimo-6285b51.

To view other works by Jouko Vaskimo, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/jouko-vaskimo/



Performance Enhancement through Smart Modelling

Making Dammam Metropolitan City SMART


By Prof Mark Reeson

UK and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



When you think of Saudi Arabia, what comes to mind?

Maybe you think of oil, deserts and a traditional lifestyle that steps back over a thousand years?

However, “With the sands of time, things are changing!”

Here is where the story begins.

Eighteen months ago, a decision was made that will alter how projects are delivered in Saudi Arabia, starting at Ministerial level and cascading down throughout the thirteen provinces. One such province, the largest and furthest flung of the East coast, simply known as “The Eastern Province” is leading that change under the guidance of the APM’s best practices.

Within the province’s capital, Dammam, a project is currently finishing its delivery stage and is ready to launch into operation this July. But what makes it so special? This project and its project sponsor have pushed the initial boundaries requested by the ministry and is attempting to shatter the glass ceiling of capability. In a region that is home to most of Saudi Arabia’s oil production and is fast becoming the global hub for the chemical industry, a new style of PMO and project delivery is ready to emerge!

For so long this region has been fragmented and although covered by multiple municipalities and governed through many ministries there has never been any major structure to the governance or government of the province. In September 2015 it was decided that this had to change and that a new approach should be undertaken. The first step behind this was to set up a project team within the main Municipality Building in Dammam and then draw in a project team that could deliver the project to change the city, not just for a while but for a sustainable future. The decision was made that the best way to deliver this major change would be to centralise the strategic planning of the whole region under one roof to be governed by one individual, the head of the Strategic Coordination Centre, Engineer Mosaad Mqhtani. His project team that would deliver this was made up of four different companies spanning eight different nationalities from Saudi Arabians, other Middle Eastern countries, American, German and Venezuelan, all headed up by Mark Reeson from England.

Although there were many major dignitaries involved in the decision making process of what was needed for the new Coordination Centre, a typical Arab approach to decision making, the major stakeholder after the Governing Prince was the Eastern Province’s Mayor, Jamal Nasser Al-Mulhim. With so much notoriety watching over the project this made every step sensitive to the needs of those making the decisions and the community that would be affected by the delivery of this new approach to project management in the whole province.

The first question that had to be asked was, what exactly is this Strategic Coordination Centre and where did this proposal come from? The Strategic Coordination Centre was the result of the proposal to centralise the coordination of projects throughout all the municipalities in the region. For far too long each municipality and authority had work independent from one another therefore creating a counterproductive working environment. This would then allow and demonstrate for a new way to look at utilising the resources within the Eastern Province more efficiently. What this new approach would offer was a clearer picture of what is happening in the province and more importantly, to allow people to understand why it is happening.

Further to this it was decided that a new way of selecting and prioritising projects should be brought into force through the new department. The prioritisation of work would be based on the need of the work rather than simply a wish and to also eliminate the amount redundant work which takes place within the region where roads, rails and electrical cabling is dug up once and then within weeks dug up again. As a further aspect to make this work more effectively, it was decided to enlist a team to write a specific bespoke piece of software that could monitor, control and report the whole region in one system to modernise the process of how municipality work was recorded. In addition to the requirement of the IT System, there would need to be a new procedural set up for the department and these procedures, objectives and the governance behind them would have to be drafted from scratch and then gain the highest level of stakeholder approval.


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 11th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Author

Mark Reeson, RPP, FAPM, PMP

United Kingdom and
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Professor Mark Reeson is a project management specialist with over thirty years’ experience. A Fellow of the Association for Project Management, he has been involved in many project and programme consultative roles.   Most recently Mark has been working with the Saudi Arabian Municipality of the Eastern Province to change the way that project management is carried out within the region, using his newly recognised SMART Sustainability Modelling for project and business management.

He was appointed a Professor of Project Management at the University of Business and Technology, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which was a culmination of his work in training and consulting in the region on matters that relate to project management, supply chain management and sustainability modelling. Having previously held the position of a specialist Sustainability Management Global Advisor he has moved forward from that position and now regularly supports businesses and projects alike in streamlining their approaches to change and strategic development providing greater longevity in their business planning.

Having started his career in the Royal Air Force, Mark has continued to develop by working and delivering projects in multiple fields of industry ranging from the nuclear environment, into pharmaceuticals, finance and also the international sporting fields.

Mark has developed his role within project management through further experience with the nuclear industry and is now the owner of M R Project Solutions Limited where he has fulfilled the role of Project Management Advisor for the last three and a half years covering every continent. His role is very much client facing and Mark now almost permanently travels the world meeting clients, developing solutions and providing training for their project families either directly through his own organisation or in support of others. Mark’s main role is the development and the consultation with many organisations on ensuring they choose the right approach or methodology to deliver their projects and then follows this up with the correct bespoke training programmes for how their company wants to share this learning with their staff members.

Mark has changed the approach to learning by the ongoing development of his original ‘Living Learning’ programme by introducing a new learning experience for all taking the classroom format and making it come to life with his popular and original ‘Applied Learning’ simulation training and coaching technique. He has taken this forward over the past few years to introduce this training style so that project management learning and behaviour has now started to be delivered into the schools and colleges looking to develop the technical, behavioural and contextual skills and attitudes of their students.

As a regular public speaker Mark now shares his experience, knowledge and commitment with those associations wanting to move forward in a more sustainable and successful manner.

Mark’s next aim is to develop this further and to spread project management knowledge and competency to many more organisations worldwide, having already started with successful deliveries globally.

Mark can be contacted at [email protected]



Attitudes and Personality towards Risk Management in the Construction Industry


By Zakari Tsiga, Michael Emes, Alan Smith

University College London
Mullard Space Science Laboratory

Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking
United Kingdom



This research paper looks at the attitudes and personality of people who deliver construction projects. The study was performed using an online questionnaire which encompassed aspects of risk decisions and personality questions. In total, 50 responses have been collected and analysed. The results of this study show that people who have experience in the delivery of projects in the construction industry are aware of the risk in projects and prefer not to take on the risk in most cases. In the aspect of personality, the results were compared to the Carl Jung personality theory and shows that the participants are extroverts, judging, more intuitive than sensing, and are equally thinkers and feelers.

Keywords: Construction Projects; Project Risk Management; Personality Profile; Risk Decisions.

JEL codes: D20, D81, L10, M19


As one of the biggest sectors, the construction industry is one that entails all the activities from project initiation to the final demolition of developed infrastructure. Being a service industry, the construction sector is interlinked with other sectors. The industry is the largest employer as compared to others (World Market Intelligence, 2010). The report by the Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics (2015) states that the cumulative volume of construction will reach US$ 212 trillion by 2030.

Project success is a topic of great focus and one that is currently being researched in project management (Alexandrova & Ivanova, 2012). The global construction industry is one of competition and constant innovation. Companies invest heavily in innovation to improve performance and capabilities. All projects are accompanied by a variety of risk. Previous research by Tsiga et. al (2016) has identified the critical success factors for the construction industry and their research also highlights the importance of risk management in the delivery of projects for the construction industry.

There are currently gaps in research in the construction industry which has led to the implementation of generic project management techniques. Risk management in projects has been researched and improved in recent times, but still, project success rate failed to improve in a similar pattern (Mir & Pinnington, 2014). Studies by Johansen et. al. (2014) have suggested that project risk managers and their teams are poorly equipped to handle risk and uncertainties. Katz (1991) suggest the need for the development of human, conceptual and technical skills of project managers. This has led to researchers such as Montequina et. al. (2015), Fisher (2011) and Tsiga et. al (2016) to take the first steps in identifying the ideal skills for project managers. El-Sabaa (2001) also suggest a framework for the selection of perfect project managers.

This research study identifies the attitudes and personality of project participants towards risk management in the construction industry. The decision scenarios implemented in this study have been derived from well documented past projects (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016), some of the decisions have led to project success and others to failure. In the aspect of the personality section of this study, it was derived from Carl G. Jung’s work on psychological theory (Jung, 1988). The theory looks at how people behave differently in different situations. The differences depict how individual use mental reasoning in justifying their individual reasoning. The Carl G. Jung’s psychological preferences are shown in Table 1.

There are currently various psychometric questionnaires that have been derived from the Carl G. Jung’s work, an example of such is the Temperament Sorter II (KTS II) (Keirsey & Bates, 1984) and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) (Briggs & Myers, 1977). Various studies have highlighted the importance and need of such tool (Clinebell & Stecher, 2003). The approach implemented in this research has been used to identify the attitudes of project participants for the Petroleum Industry (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016) and Space Industry (Tsiga, Emes, & Smith, 2016)…


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 6th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers

About the Authors

Zakari Danlami Tsiga

London, United Kingdom


Zakari Danlami Tsiga
, MSc is a PhD student working at the University College London. Prior to beginning the PhD program, Zakari undertook a masters’ program at the same university, this gave him the opportunity to work on the delivery of various projects for different clients such as Microsoft and the London Clearing House. From his work he developed an interest in Technology management and the importance of successful project delivery


Emes, PhD

London, United Kingdom



Michael Emes, MEng, PhD, MIET, MAPM, MINCOSE is Deputy Director of UCL Centre for Systems Engineering and Head of the Technology Management Group at UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL). He completed his first degree in Engineering, Economics and Management at St John’s College, Oxford, and a PhD at MSSL in developing cooling technologies for spacecraft. He worked as a strategy consultant for Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman) on projects in retail, energy and transport, including a project advising the Department for Transport on how to address the problems of the rail sector in the last days of Railtrack plc. Michael now conducts teaching and research at UCL in the areas of systems engineering and technology management in domains including transport, health, defence and aerospace. He is a member of APM, INCOSE and the IET. He is Programme Manager and a lead trainer for the European Space Agency’s Project Manager Training Course and is Programme Director for UCL’s MSc in the Management of Complex Projects.


Prof. Alan Smith, PhD

London, United Kingdom



Alan Smith was awarded a PhD at Leicester University in 1978 based on his X-ray study of supernova remnants. His work involved the payload development and flight of a Skylark sounding rocket from Woomera, South Australia. Between 1984-1990 he worked for the European Space Agency at its technology centre in the Netherlands as both an astrophysicist and as an instrument developer. His early career involved a combination of technology development (space flight hardware on European, and Russian satellites), project management and astrophysics. In 1990 he joined University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, initially as Head of Detector Physics eventually becoming Director and Head of Department (2005). In 1998 he was made a Professor of Detector Physics. While at UCL he has been Director of UCL’s Centre for Advanced Instrumentation Systems (1995-2005), a Co-Director of the Smart Optics Faraday Partnership (2002-2005) and is presently founding Director of the Centre for Systems Engineering (1998-present). Alan was appointed Vice-Dean for Enterprise for the faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences in 2007, helped set up UCL’s Centre for Space Medicine in 2011 and is a member of UCL’s Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Association of Project Management.



Disruptive Escalation

Are we asking the right questions?


By Carlie Cornell, PMP

North Texas, USA



Escalation is not a poisonous snake to be avoided at all costs. It is a tool project managers can learn to use for the betterment of their projects. Project management.com (2017) says, “Project escalation is both an art and a science – it is also a risky art as escalation can lead to personal clashes and backfires.” Maybe it is poisonous after all, even if it is not a snake, and must be handled with care. But done well, escalation can lead to successful delivery of a previously troubled project and it can enhance the reputation of the project manager who knows when and how to escalate.

This paper will examine two cases studies in which a disruptive escalation interrupted project progress, but eventually enabled the project teams to deliver successfully. The first case study is a story of a team that spun its wheels and delivered nothing for weeks, sliding gradually from green to yellow to bright, burning red. We will look at how we measured that slide and how we halted it and got the team back on track. The second case study looks at a project that the sponsoring CIO called “the worst project ever.” We will study how the project earned that moniker and what the team did to turn things around.

What is escalation?

Escalation is a process used to call attention to activities or issues that have the potential to harm a project, if not resolved. Such harm can include delay of project timelines, cost overruns, jeopardizing the quality of project deliverables and other damage to project outcomes (Puleo, 2016).

We would like to call attention to the first few words of this definition. If escalation is a process, it makes sense that we should define our process before we need it. If your organization or PMO does not have a pre-defined escalation process, you should create one in your project plan. If you have a defined process, you may wish to elaborate or make it more specific in your project plan.

Some of the elements you might want to document include:

  1. Whom you need to escalate to per topic or area, at each level of escalation.
  2. Levels of escalation: a scale of severity of risk will likely drive this. You may also wish to consider difficulty of resolution as a factor in escalation level.
  3. Triggers that will drive a need to escalate.
  4. Measurements that will alert you to developing problems.

(projectmanagement.com, 2017)

An example of an escalation matrix is included in Appendix A.

Disruptive or obstacle removal?

Not all escalations are disruptive. In fact, in our experience, most are not. For example, today, one of our team project managers escalated the problem that one of her team members still did not have access to tools used by her team to one of the development managers. The manager reached out to the support team and authorized the access. Within an hour access was granted…


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 11th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Author

Carlie Cornell

Texas, USA



Carlie (Gehle) Cornell, PMP, has managed projects and programs, using plan-driven and agile approaches for product development and information systems software teams since 2004. As a PMO leader, she has trained and managed project managers, business analysts and business process analysts from IT and business organizations. She has been recognized as a top performer and received a Chairman’s Award in recognition of her project and program management efforts. Most recently she slipped over to the dark side to manage development resources directly. Now, she collaborates with the PMO team to ensure that strategic projects have proper staffing.

Carlie Cornell can be contacted at [email protected]



When Risk Management Meets Risk Realized

Mitigating Project Impact


By Vince Yauger, AIA, CCCA, CCM, LEED AP, PMP

University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, Texas, USA



Most project managers are familiar with the practice of developing risk registers, and the need to evaluate and plan for risk in a major project. But what happens when a risk is realized in spite of your best planning? How we respond to a crisis when one occurs is vital to limiting the potential impact of a realized risk to the outcome of the affected project.

This paper will emphasize the importance of performing detailed emergency response planning before a problem occurs. We will explore tools and techniques for preplanning for the known risks. Using construction project risk management as a framework, we will also look at multiple case studies where a potential risk occurred, causing damage to infrastructure and/or injury to workers. This exercise will illustrate how cost and delay impacts can be mitigated through the decisive application of preplanned contingency and response plans.

The Project Management Institute’s PMBOK Guide 5th Edition describes Project Risk Management as “the processes of planning, identification, analysis, response planning and controlling risk on a project.” It further states that “the objectives of project risk management are to increase the likelihood and impact of positive events, and decrease the likelihood and impact of negative events on the project. In this paper, we will focus on identification of risks, planning for risk responses, and controlling risk through execution of response plans.


What is risk management? Project Risk Management Processes as defined by PMI:

11.1 Plan Risk Management – defining how to conduct risk management activities for a project

11.2 Identify Risks – process for determining which risks may affect the project

11.3 Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis – prioritizing risks for probability of occurrence and impact

11.4 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis – numerically analyzing the effect of identified risks

11.5 Plan Risk Responses – developing options and actions to reduce threats to project objectives

11.6 Control Risks – process of implementing risk response plans

Source: PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition, Page 309

A key component of any risk management exercise is identification of risks that could impact the project. “Identifying Risks is the process of determining which risks may affect the project and documenting their characteristics.” Source: PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition, Page 319


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 11th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Author

Yauger, PMP

University of Texas at Dallas
North Texas, USA



Vince Yauger, AIA, CCCA, CCM, LEEP AP, PMP has 36-years’ experience in design and construction, working as a project manager for both private industry and the government sector. His construction experience covers a broad spectrum of building types, ranging from small residences to multi-million dollar multi-family high-rise, airport terminals, and higher education projects. Vince currently serves as a Resident Construction Manager / PM for the University of Texas System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction – managing new construction and major renovation projects at the University of Texas at Dallas campus since 2007.

Vince earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) from Texas A&M University, with additional graduate studies in Architecture and Management. He holds multiple professional certifications: Project Management Professional (2011), CSI – Certified Construction Contract Administrator (2006), CMAA – Certified Construction Manager (2017), LEED Accredited Professional (2004), and Registered Architect (1999 – Texas).

Past speaking engagements include a keynote address at the 2015 UTD PM Symposium, 2016 Virtual Construction and Field Technology Conference, UTD Applied Project Management Forum, 2013 Texas Society of Architects Convention, 2013 UTD Facilities Management Conference, and multiple UT System OFPC annual conferences. He also serves as a guest lecturer for UTD’s PM core curriculum program, speaking to groups of foreign graduate students visiting UT Dallas, and conducting construction site tours on campus.

Vince can be contacted at [email protected]



The Epistemological Analysis of the Concept “Risk” in Project Risk Management


by Juris Uzulāns

University of Latvia

Riga, Latvia



The aim of the current research series is to examine the risk registers of real projects to find correlations between the project management theory, especially project risk management, and practical results of the risk management of real projects – the risk registers publicly available in the Internet.

In the current research the author analysed the concept “event” that defines the content of the concept “risk”. The use of the concept “event” was analysed in 9 different sources to find out how to use the concept “event”. Epistemological analysis of the concepts “event” in the “risk” definition was used to answer the question what the risk in project management means.

In the previous studies the author concluded that the methods used for the analysis of the definitions of the concept are insufficient because the theoretical risk registers do not coincide with the risk registers of real projects. However, we can conclude that the risk registers of real projects are not sufficiently substantiated theoretically if we assume that the risk registers of real projects comply with the documents governing project management.

Key words: project, risk, concept, event, epistemological analysis.

JEL code: M00, M10, M190


Project management history is a relatively new science characterized by dynamic development. Defining precise, unanimous and generally accepted concepts is important for any branch of science. In project management as a new branch of science many concepts are under construction, many concepts differ both in the content and scope. One of such project management concepts is “risk”. The genius concepts of the risk definitions are different. The most common concepts are “event” and “uncertainty”. The concept “event” is widely used in different areas, in philosophy, mathematics, and physics or away from the scientific definition. The same is true in the case of the concept “uncertainty”. The content of the concepts “event” and “uncertainty” is very different and maybe the analysis of the ontological, epistemological and methodological and real project risk register of the definitions of “event” and “uncertainty” will provide the analysis, which reveals relationships, which could not be identified by the methods used in previous studies.

Methodology of Research

The research was conducted in two stages. The goal of the first stage was to find out if the selected methods of research can be used to carry out the ontological, epistemological and methodological analysis of the concept “risk”. The author assumed that the selection of at least three sources in each kind of sources will be sufficient for the assessment of the validity of the selected methods. In the second stage of the research a wider use of the sources is intended. It is also planned to compare the results of the theoretical analysis of the sources with the results of the project risk analysis. The article deals with the results of the first stage which analysed how to use the concept “event” in 9 different sources, 3 project management guidelines of international project management institutions, 3 project risk management guidelines, and 3 author books.

One of the definitions of the term “epistemology” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity”, in the Cambridge Dictionary epistemology it reads “the part of philosophy that is about the study of how we know things” and in the Collins dictionary epistemology there the definition: “the theory of knowledge, esp the critical study of its validity, methods, and scope”. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy states that “Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief” and lists several questions: “As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one’s own mind?”


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 6th Scientific Conference on Project Management in the Baltic States, University of Latvia, April 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the author and conference organizers

About the Author


Riga, Latvia


Juris Uzulāns
possesses more than 15 years’ experience in theoretical and practical project management. It includes managing projects in state governance, health care systems, institutions of higher education and IBM Latvia. He has designed and delivered courses in project management in HEI School of Banking and Finance, Baltic Computer Academy as well as commercial firms specialized in training.

In science the Juris focuses on risk management, analysis of project processes and documentation. Juris is author of 4 books on project management and 20 scientific publications.

Juris can be contacted at [email protected]



A Commentary on Project Classifications


By Alan Stretton

Sydney, Australia



This commentary updates an earlier program/project classification model by the author, and discusses a recent project typology by Lehmann, and how it relates to that model.


A while ago I published a series of four articles in this journal on categorising projects and programs (Stretton 2014f,g,h,i). In particular, I distinguished between types of projects on the one hand (e.g. R&D, IT), and application sectors for projects on the other (e.g. infrastructure, education), and developed a matrix showing representative examples of each, to illustrate how various project types intersected with the many possible application areas, as follows.

The main reason for developing this matrix was that most listings of project types at the time were a mixture of project types and application sectors. However, the real world situation is that most project types are undertaken in most application areas. So, one way of describing a project is to nominate both its type, and the application sector it is being applied in – e.g. an ICT project in the Production Facilities sector.


In Stretton 2014i I added a third dimension to Figure 1, which was intended to cover categorisations based in degree of complexity and/or uncertainty relating to each program/project.

I first incorporated the four dimensions of the NTCP model of Shenhar & Dvir 2007, namely:

  • project Novelty (e.g. market uncertainty),
  • Technological uncertainty,
  • project scope Complexity, and
  • project Pace.

I then added further complexity/uncertainty dimensions to this model, which I labelled:

  • Geographic complexity,
  • Risk-related complexity,
  • Organization complexity,
  • Resources complexity, and
  • Other

The latter were relatively superficial “catch-all” dimensions, as I had not at that stage looked into the nature of project complexity in any depth.

Subsequently, I have looked at sources of project complexity in more detail, as discussed in Stretton 2017b in this journal. Contributions from eight sources were discussed, and broadly aligned against each other, including the contribution from Prieto 2015, who nominated some 66 sources of complexity on giga-programs. I then proposed the following broad groupings to cover all these contributions.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: Alan Stretton, PhD (Hon), Life Fellow of AIPM (Australia), is a pioneer in the field of professional project management and one of the most widely recognized voices in the practice of program and project management.   Long retired, Alan is still tackling some of the most challenging research and writing assignments; he is a frequent contributor to the PM World Journal. See his author profile below.

About the Author

Alan Stretton, PhD

Faculty Corps, University of Management
and Technology, Arlington, VA (USA)
Life Fellow, AIPM (Australia)



Alan Stretton is one of the pioneers of modern project management. He is currently a member of the Faculty Corps for the University of Management & Technology (UMT), USA. In 2006 he retired from a position as Adjunct Professor of Project Management in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Australia, which he joined in 1988 to develop and deliver a Master of Project Management program.   Prior to joining UTS, Mr. Stretton worked in the building and construction industries in Australia, New Zealand and the USA for some 38 years, which included the project management of construction, R&D, introduction of information and control systems, internal management education programs and organizational change projects. He has degrees in Civil Engineering (BE, Tasmania) and Mathematics (MA, Oxford), and an honorary PhD in strategy, programme and project management (ESC, Lille, France). Alan was Chairman of the Standards (PMBOK) Committee of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) from late 1989 to early 1992. He held a similar position with the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM), and was elected a Life Fellow of AIPM in 1996. He was a member of the Core Working Group in the development of the Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management. He has published over 180 professional articles and papers. Alan can be contacted at [email protected].

To see more works by Alan Stretton, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/alan-stretton/.



Options for the New Project Manager or Inexperienced Project Manager


By Rebecca Winston, JD

Former Vice-Chair, Chair, Fellow – PMI®

Idaho, USA


During my travels, speaking engagements, or even conference calls, I am asked what can the new project manager or inexperienced project manager use to help them do their work or become a better project manager. Many of the current textbooks, books, guidance documents, standards, and other manuals that are available in the marketplace are packed with information from the basic to the complex. There are few documents that contain the information in a simplified, straightforward manner without being burdened by tools, methods, or opinions. Currently, in the marketplace the only documents that are brief and succinct are the ISO documents. For the new project manager or the inexperienced project manager, the ISO 21500:2012 provides a simple road map to project management.

As with any document, it will undergo revisions and updating, but for the time being it is a simple view of the complex environment of the project world. It has applicability to most projects, most of the time in any organizations for any type of project. It allows for the tailoring that project managers should learn and implement.

Are there limitations to the document? Absolutely! However, no matter how many possibilities that one attempts to capture in any one standard, the world of project management is filled with one more exception. For a new project manager or an inexperienced manager the knowledge to be able to determine what is the best information to use found in any of the voluminous materials available is a difficult one. The use of a simplified standard allows the project manager to ask questions, invest the project management team in decision-making, and seek mentorship. If the project manager feels the text of any standard provides the answer to most, if not all situations, it is harder to seek answers from within or outside the project.

Individuals can agree or disagree about the particulars in any standard. No one standard is perfection. It is up to the project manager to use the standard to improve the management of his or her project, but not to blindly enforce the individual lines stated in any standard.

ISO 21500:2012 will undergo a revision in the next couple years, but in the meantime the document provides the roadmap for “what” a project manager should have established, provided, maintained, or by other action caused to happen within the project to provide for the framework of a potentially successful project. The standard provides concepts and for now processes. Part of the revision process may be to eliminate the processes, change the processes into text only, or move the processes into another document that may be a process standard or an implementation guide.   For now, the concepts are paired with the processes. The standard also provides the project manager with simple non-industry specific definitions of the basic project management terms. The standard does not attempt to redefine terms that are adequately defined by a dictionary, for example the term budget. Just adding “project” prior to budget does not change the term itself from the basic term as defined by the dictionary.

Another benefit of the standard is that it provides a view into the overall, generalized environment that the project exists. Thus, it allows the project manager to see how his or her actions and place in that environment fits into the larger organizational environment. This knowledge also allows the project manager to understand to some extent the world that his or her project stakeholders exist.


To read entire article, click here


About the Author

Rebecca Winston, JD

Former Vice-Chair, Chair, Fellow – PMI®
Idaho, USA



Rebecca (Becky) Winston, Esq., JD, PMI Fellow, is a former Chair of the board of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). An experienced expert on the subject of project management (PM) in the fields of research & development (R&D), energy, environmental restoration and national security, she is well known throughout the United States and globally as a leader in the PM professional world. Becky has over 30 years of experience in program and project management, primarily on programs funded by the US government. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska’s College of Law, Juris Doctorate (1980), in Lincoln, Nebraska and has a Bachelor’s of Science (BS) degree in Education from Nebraska Wesleyan University She is a licensed attorney in the states of Iowa and Nebraska, USA.

Active in PMI since 1993, Rebecca Winston helped pioneer PMI’s Specific Interest Groups (SIGs) in the nineties, including the Project Earth and Government SIGs, and was a founder and first co-chair of the Women in Project Management SIG. She served two terms on the PMI board of directors as director at large, Secretary Treasurer, Vice Chair (for two years), and Chair (2002). She was elected a PMI Fellow in 2005. She has served as a reviewer of the Barrie Student paper for the PMI Educational Foundation for several years and will begin service on the PMI Educational Foundation Board in 2018. She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the Association of Female Executives in the United States.

Ms. Winston periodically serves as an advisor to organizations such as the National Nuclear Security Administration (USA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on topics ranging from Program and Project Management to project reviews, risk management and vulnerability assessments. She served on the Air Force Studies Board for six years and currently serves on the Intelligence Science Technology Engineering Group for the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

Since 2008 she has also served in the capacity of Chair of the US Technical Advisory Group and Head of Delegation for Technical Committee 258: Project, Programme, and Portfolio Management, as well as serving on the various Working and Study Groups drafting international guidance standards. She has extensive recent PM experience in the areas of alternative energy, national defense and security, and has worked closely with local, regional and national officials, including Congress and the Pentagon. She is also a global advisor to the PM World Journal and Library.

Becky can be contacted at [email protected]

To view more works by Rebecca Winston, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/rebecca-becky-winston/



When Bold Is Not Beautiful!!!


By Anil Seth

Gurgaon, India



To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before……………………………   
~ Star Trek: The Original Series


In any of your Projects, have you ever experienced the feeling that being Bold is not always taken as a welcome step? [Which is not seen as beautiful by management?]

– many times even ugly scenarios and strategies win the race.

Recently in one of the projects we were asked to look into a peculiar scenario wherein the problem was made complex as both the teams (design and fabrication executor) were seeing a new process and hence each one was doubtful on the resolution and approach.

Any problem has three steps for recovery and resolution:

  1. Identification
  2. Rectification
  3. Modification of Rectification to avoid recurrence in future

Believe me we cannot add any other step in this.

Coming to the problem which was given to us; this was to eradicate an error in piping isometrics which is not visible to engineering designer and can only be seen once machine drawing of spools is being prepared. The challenge was to catch the [weld] error before fabrication planning team executes.

Going to the three steps listed, we went for identification.

One substantial list of [Weld] errors was generated by fabrication group. This gave designers Automation Team an opportunity to read the encrypted language in S3D environment.

The schedule between issuance of Isometrics file and identification of Errors by planning team was about 3-4 weeks. Hence it was important to know the Errors at time of issuance of Isometrics.

To explain the problem technically, the piping Isometrics when extracted from S3D system has generally three files:

  • .pdf
  • .sha
  • .pcf

Design team uses .pdf file for checking and back checking and that file is considered as face of Isometrics. The .pcf file is a machine language file and is generally use for spool preparation by fabrication group (this is considered as an input to spoolgen tool).The problem was found to be in .pcf file; there were lot of discrepancies found in reporting weld errors (in numbering, hierarchy, etc.).

The problem is solved if this is made visible to the team either manually or through Automation with target mitigation date highlighted.

The Step1 was started with the problem statement provided by the Fabrication team and mitigation was planned. Daily targets were given to designers to resolve the concern arose.

This approach could only solve the problem in hand but as I have explained earlier, we were not in a position to explore whether any issued Isometrics which had not reached fabrication team still had this error……?

Next ….to attack and rectify the wholesome problem, we approached our automation team.

Subsequently a tool called “PCF Validator” was developed within a weeks’ time.

!!…problem solved, NO! This tool was not at all tested, in fact we implemented βeta version directly. This was an UGLY calculated risk.

The first analysis had horrifying and conflicting numbers. And yes a concern was reported.


To read entire article, click here


About the Author

Anil Seth

Gurgaon, India



Mr. Anil Seth is working as Project Manager in Fluor’s Indian office at Gurgaon. Fluor Daniel India Private Limited (Fluor India) provides a full range of engineering, design, procurement, and construction management services to Indian and overseas clients. Fluor India is an established quality provider of engineering, procurement, construction management (EPC) and project management services for Fluor’s energy and chemicals, power, mining, and industrial projects, and is a key support office for Fluor facilities located in North America, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia Pacific

Earlier to Fluor, was in Larsen & Toubro Ltd. at Faridabad, India and managing the Project Engineering Manager Portfolio for hydrocarbon projects. Before joining Larsen & Toubro Engineering and construction division he has worked for Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited. He holds B.E. degree with Honors in CHEMICAL Engineering from Panjab University Chandigarh India and has also done Diploma in Environmental Management. He is certified for Harvard Manage Mentor and specializes in Building High Performance cross functional Task Force as well as Converting Breakeven Projects to Profitable scenario. He can be reached at mailto:[email protected]or [email protected]

To see other works by Anil Seth, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/mr-anil-seth/


About the Company

Fluor Corporation (NYSE: FLR) is a global engineering and construction firm that designs and builds some of the world’s most complex projects. The company creates and delivers innovative solutions for its clients in engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, maintenance and project management on a global basis. For more than a century, Fluor has served clients in the energy, chemicals, government, industrial, infrastructure, mining and power market sectors. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Fluor ranks 110 on the FORTUNE 500 list. With more than 40,000 employees worldwide, the company’s revenue for 2013 was $27.4 billion. For more information, visit www.fluor.com




Avoid These 4 Deadly Mistakes while Managing Multiple Projects


By David Miller

Michigan, USA



Project Management is an integral part of every business, given the fact it helps in streamlining operations and promoting collaboration. While managing one project may be a breeze for a project manager, dealing with multiple projects is a tough nut to crack. Many a time, your project management team can commit rookie mistakes that may hamper the overall progress of the project; leading to loss in revenues and reputation. Though you may already be using efficient project management software, you must always steer clear of possible mistakes. To cover the gaps, we present you five common mistakes that you should avoid while managing multiple projects.

Micromanaging Is Usually Disastrous

The job of a project manager is to develop project plans, assign roles, and keep track of the overall progress. When you have one project on your hands, dedicating your time to the development of small tasks is possible and shows initiative from your side.

On the other hand, when you have multiple projects on your hands, it is imperative that you steer clear of micromanaging. Being involved from start to finish of every task may cause you to lose focus and therefore, not recommended.

The ideal solution to pacify this problem would be delegating more responsibilities to people who responsible, capable and trustworthy. Relieving some of your duty to seniors in your company will have a very positive impact on the project itself, and you can use this situation as a very practical test and find out who is the next in line for a promotion.


To read entire article, click here


About the Author

David Miller

Michigan, USA



David Miller is a technical writer currently associated with ProProfs Project. He enjoys writing about emerging project management products and its latest trends. He lives in Detroit, Michigan with his wife. In his spare time, David loves exploring the city, listening to Metal music and riding.



Creating 4th Gen Organizations

The Quest Towards an Effective Adaptation and Co-Evolution with the Business Environment


By David Tain, MSc., P.Eng., PMP

Alberta, Canada



The increasing complexity in business environments makes strategic organization a paramount function to ensure sustainability and growth in corporations. However, organizational strategies, often defined with imperfect information, will normally follow economic drivers and managerial perceptions. As a result, architectures that are dissonant with the external context make organizations vulnerable to unanticipated factors emerging from changes in the external context. By adopting an evolutionary perspective, the antecedents of modern architectures are explained in this paper by building on the progressive advancement and incorporation of attributes, structures and coordination mechanisms in the different organizations’ “generations”, setting the stage to formally define 4th Gen organizations as entities that strategically intrude the business environment, with the capacity of absorbing and assimilating knowledge to effectively navigate uncertainty and generate readiness for external changes. As a result of this analysis, an organizational framework is proposed to design 4th Gen organizations that integrate three theoretical orientations: open strategy, structured networks and scenario planning. This framework ensures an effective interplay with the ecosystem and external forces that ultimately leads to a successful co-evolution with the overall business environment.

Business Environment and Strategy: Overview and Research Orientation

Global trends and market turbulences permanently test capabilities, resources and practices of organizations jeopardizing their value generation potential and sustainability. Business ecosystems and market forces emerge and influence the organization from different directions and at different speeds, driving strategic planning activities as mechanisms for growth and subsistence. Therefore, strategic organization has become a paramount function in today’s business environment, irrespective the industry or sector.

The business environment, as defined by Duncan (1972), includes all physical and social factors that that influence decision-making and behaviors in the organization and encompasses two broad domains: a- the general environment, formed by external forces (e.g.: social, political, economic and technological), and b- the task environment, or directly interactions with the organization’s activities (such as competitors, suppliers, regulatory bodies etc.). On the other hand, organizations will naturally react to what they perceive (Miles, Snow and Pfeffer, 1974). As a result, factors perceived in the general environment drive primary (corporate) strategies focused on markets selection and industries to allocate resources, while the elements in the task environment frame secondary (business) strategies that define the organization’s “unique” capabilities and competitive advantage (Bourgueois III, 1980).

By adopting an evolutionary perspective, the antecedents of modern organizations are explained in this paper, defining generations of organizations as a function of attributes, architectures and coordination mechanisms. This set the stage to formally define 4th Gen organizations as entities that strategically intrude the business environment and have the capacity to absorb and assimilate external information, adequately navigating uncertainty and reaching readiness for external changes. This analysis sets the stage to formally propose a design framework for 4th Gen organizations that amalgamates open strategy, structured networks and scenario planning as theoretical orientations. The central objective of this framework is to seek the effective interplay between the organization, the business ecosystem and external forces to ensure a successful co-evolution with the external environment.

Organizational Antecedents: From 1st to 3rd Generation

1st Gen Organizations: Maximizing Outputs through Vertical Integration

The most basic organizational architectures base organizational growth on the aggregation of the internal units’ outputs. As such, 1st Gen organizations were those designed on economic theories and capitalized on specialization, the division of labor (Smith, 1776) and the reduction of transaction costs (Coase, 1936). Vertical integration and robust hierarchical structures set how internal divisions should work and deliver results. Subsequent advances in the field of scientific management, notably the study of human motion in the industrial setting (Taylor, 1911), substantially helped increase operational efficiency and improved resource allocation, ultimately increasing outputs. There’s little doubt that these approaches were essential in the emergence of corporations in the 20th century.

With limited competition, 1st Gen organizations set linear growth expectations and established highly centralized control mechanisms and result-oriented performance indicators. Units were rewarded for the outputs they produced so inter-organizational cooperation became subordinated to individual output, incentivizing internal competition and silo-based behaviors. As a result, internal inefficiencies started to appear and the overall corporate value generation potential progressively eroded. Wen competition increased, excessive modularization in hierarchical structures impeded adequate reactions to threats and, in the most dramatic cases, differences in units’ performances generated asynchrony and cannibalism within the organization, progressively taking firms to obsolescence.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

David Tain

Alberta, Canada



David Tain, MSc., P.Eng., PMP is the Principal Consultant for Project Management and Strategy Execution at Septentrion LTD. (http://www.septentrioncanada.com)/ . David has worked extensively in the development of industrial facilities in North and South America, holding diverse leadership positions in for international oil operators, engineering and construction organizations. His professional and academic expertise focuses on projects execution, strategic organization, decision analysis, leadership, negotiation and the study of human behavior in project environments

David received a MSc. in Management (Oil and Gas) from the University of Liverpool and completed the Strategic Decision and Risk Management Program at Stanford University. He obtained his Civil Engineering degree in 2001 from Santa Maria University in Venezuela and has progressively advanced his academic knowledge in Project Management, Project Development and Organizational Strategy through multiple programs at several institutions across the globe, remarkably Villanova University in USA and the Institut Français du Pétrole (IFP) in Paris. David is a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.) in Alberta, Canada. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Strategic consultants like Septentrion design and implement customized solutions to guide decisions, with well-defined and structured frameworks to analyze scenarios and ensuring all assumptions are adequately evaluated. This allows extracting the maximum possible value in the organization while progressing towards the strategic goals, embracing adaptation when required and ensuring right decisions are taken right. More at http://www.septentrioncanada.com/

To see more works by David Tain, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-tain/


Best in Class – Dashboards for Oil and Gas Projects


By Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



Reporting, effective reporting is key to a projects success during its life-span, while insufficient or incorrectly analyzed reporting dooms a project to failure. In today’s environment with the advances in technology, managers and executives are reading reports on the move so concise analysis is key. The author reviews several sources including “Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR”, “DAU Gold Card” and “NDIA’s A guide to managing programs using predictive measures” to determine the optimum metric content for a project management dashboard for the oil and gas sector. Along the way, the paper researches the attributes and the target audience, before determining utilization of two metric groups, “common” and “unique” along with a recommended shortlist. The paper concludes by recommending content for page 1, page 2 and subsequent pages, from the shortlist, before providing recommended formats for the same.

Keywords: Dashboard, Project Reporting, Progress Reporting, Business Report Writing, Project Management, Charts, Tables


Having spent more than 30 years in project controls on Oil and Gas construction projects, on-shore and off-shore, one of the most important activities in the project life-span is effective reporting. The art of reporting, and it is an art, is providing the correct information and analysis of the same to the key people to allow them to make informed decisions to make the project successful.

During these years, the author has been involved in the development of various dashboards to track progress, key KPI’s, performance, and highlight issues requiring attention. However, each Project Manager, usually had different requirements, and while some indicators could be duplicated from project to project others needed to be developed to suit the project team’s needs.

Based on the famous statement by William Cameron which is often attributed to none other than Albert Einstein, that “not everything that can be measured matters and not everything that matters can be measured” this paper is going to review the following problem statement, “What should the ideal project management dashboard contain?”. While the authors research is based on dashboards supporting the Oil and Gas Industry, it is only to be expected that other industries would have similar requirements.

Specifically, this paper wants to explore;

  1. Proposed content and format for the first page of a dashboard.
  2. Proposed content and format for the second page of a dashboard.
  3. Proposed content and format for third and subsequent pages of a dashboard.
  4. Considerations for ready prepared formats by software providers.
  5. Proposed update to the Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR Communications module.

Attributes of a dashboard

Review of the following documents, revealed the depth of metrics and key performance indicators available to generate a meaningful dashboard:

  • Guild of Project Controls GPCCAR Module 9.
  • DAU Gold Card.
  • NDIA’s A Guide to Managing Programs using Predictive Measures.
  • Oracle P6 EPPM standard dashboard reports.
  • Microsoft Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) standard dashboard reports.

The GPCCAR Module 9 section “Dashboard Reports” shows four examples, and refers to the DAU Gold Card, and section 09.5.5 “References & Templates” refers to the NDIA document mentioned above. Of the four examples provided, a good example of is the first one which shows the “Figure 21 – S-Curve from a Real Programme”, see figure 1 below, as it provides a metrics ribbon along the top to provide management with an excellent view of the current status.


To read entire paper (with footnotes and references), click here


About the Author

Stephen J.C. Paterson

HuaHin, Thailand



Stephen Paterson is an Oil and Gas professional with 35+ years of experience in project controls and construction management. Born in the Highlands of Scotland, he served an apprenticeship and gained a Higher National Certificate in Civil Engineering in the UK, before embarking on the adventure of expat living, working worldwide; Middle East, North & South America, Russia, Middle East, Far East, South East Asia, China and Australia. He just completed his last assignment in February of 2017, and currently, furthering his education by way of a distance learning mentoring course, under the tutorage of Dr Paul D. Giammalvo, CDT, CCE, MScPM, MRICS, GPM-m Senior Technical Advisor, PT Mitrata Citragraha, to attain Guild of Project Controls certification.

Stephen lives in HuaHin, Thailand and can be contacted at [email protected]

To view other works by Stephen Paterson, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stephen-j-c-paterson/


Risk Identification Barriers

An overview of risk identification barriers with implementation of PMI standards in construction projects


Mostafa H. Kotb (1) and Mohamed M. Ghattas (2)

(1) Prof of Structural Engineering – Faculty of Engineering
AZHAR University – Egypt

(2) Civil Engineer, Project Manager, PMP, PMI-RMPTM
Egypt and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



Construction industry is full of uncertainty, this cause money losses and schedule slippage, that is why risk management is essential to deliver a successful project, even though some organizations implement risk management processes, but they are not able to deal effectively with risks, one of the reasons is because some risks not identified, risk identification is a difficult and complicated process, here the author reviews risk identification process purposes, inputs, weaknesses of tools and techniques, and some common barriers blocking successful identification of project risks. This article is an overview for organizations and practitioners to help them get over those barriers to successfully identify project risks.

Keywords: Risk management, Risk identification, Construction

  1. Introduction

In construction field uncertainty is everywhere, especially nowadays when political and financial crisis is affecting the construction industry. Project management aims to apply skills and tools to successfully deliver the project and satisfy stakeholders, risk management deals with both negative and positive risks. Addressing risk is an important task, as the success of risk management depends heavily on early risk identification, risk management is not a choice it is the main step in the way to deliver a successful project. not taking risk is a business loss, to win you should play risk management effectively and promote an effective way to deal with risks, eliminating all threats or exploiting all opportunities is not an effective way as may cause great disastrous consequences on project objectives, when an organization understand the nature of risks and manage them effectively, it can avoid unforeseen risks and work with a tight budget, schedule, and few contingency limits.

What is a risk? Even this is a simple question it has more than an answer, here the author reviewed common dentitions of risk. As per PMI, risk is “an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives such as scope, schedule, cost, and quality”, Risk causes are defined in an iterative and cohesive manner as risk can have more than a cause, Risk is either positive known as opportunities or negative known as threat, many people think only negative risks only should be addressed and managed, by this behavior they are missing opportunities and business. (1)

As per W.D. Rowe, risk is an uncertain future event that if occurred positively or negatively affect the project, Risk is a way to look into the future to minimize negative effects and maximize positive impacts. Also defined as the probability for unwanted positive or negative impacts of an event (2). Also referred to expected hazardous situation or chances. Risk is the probability that a set of unknown events will cause some harm or gain over some timeframe as defined by Jardine C.G. (3).

The goal of project risk management is to identify risks and separate them from issues earlier as soon as possible to give risk manager the chance to prioritize them and suggest actions to deal with those risks. Risks may or may not happen and are described based on the probability of occurrence and impact on project objectives.

Risk management is essential to success of projects, aims to minimize losses and enhance gains, dealing with politics, business, labors, economic crisis makes the construction industry with a high-risk levels, also long periods projects may reach years, schedule slippage and cost overruns attracted attention from clients, contractors and project managers, they started to think how to avoid these uncertain events, identify, evaluate and find plans to deal with them, this is the main goal of risk management.

Risk Management defined as a group of processes concerned with risk management planning, identification, analysis, planning responses and monitoring and controlling risks on a project (1)

Risk management is the most difficult portion of project management. Risk manager must identify the risk and their root causes and monitor these causes through the project. Furthermore, risk management mainly aims to achieve the project objectives (6) and he should start risk management as early as possible at project start, this will increase project success chances and achieving demands.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Authors

Prof. Dr. Mostafa H. Kotb

Prof of Structural Engineering
Faculty of Engineering
AZHAR University – Egypt



Prof. Dr. Mostafa H. Kotb, Prof of Structural Engineering from 2006 till now, Field of interests behavior of design of steel structures, strengthening and repair of reinforced concrete elements for structure interactions and rehabilitation of civil infrastructure, Vice dean from 2011 till end of 2015, Assistant chair of Al-AZHAR International Engineering Conference from 2000 till 2014.

For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-mostafa-kotb-85ab353a/?ppe=1

E-Mail: [email protected]

Mobile: 0020-100 100 3125


Mohamed Metwaly Ghattas, PMP, PMI-RMP

Egypt – KSA



Mohamed Ghattas, PMP, PMI-RMP, Project manager with 5 years of experience in construction projects in Saudi Arabia, is currently a Project Manager at AI Rajhi Capital. Interested in risk management and cost management

For more information, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamed-ghattas-pmp-rmp-b62a5526/

E-Mail: [email protected]

Mobile: 00966-59 590 4818



Crisis in Your Customer Project?

Try Benefit Engineering


Project Business Management 3

By Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany



“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”   
– Walt Disney



A traditional approach to resolve monetary problems in customer projects is “Cost engineering”. This article describes an alternative solution named “Benefit engineering”, which can be more effective and leaves a customer with increased happiness, while the contractor’s problems are resolved.

The Boon and Bane of Cost Engineering

As a trainer and writer, the author of this article has a focus on project business management (PBM), the knowledge area in project management that is dealing with networks of customers, contractors and lots of other players. These organizations and individuals are forming project supply networks (PSNs) that can become very large, complex, intransparent, and very dynamic in the organizations that constitute them and the interfaces between them.

In these discussions, the author is often confronted with questions from project managers working for contractor organizations on profitability of customer projects. It seems to people that profitability and a happy customer are mutually exclusive. A project manager in a customer project has to invest into the contract project to deliver to the customer what is desired and needed, thus impacting the satisfaction and possibly the delight of the customer. This would reduce the profit from the project. Increasing the profit in turn would improve profitability but comes with the price of a frustrated customer and possible conflicts that may finally need to be sorted out at court.

A second question, which follows the first question is commonly the issue of liquidity. As a contractor for a customer, a company often has to outlay money, work and deliverables for the customer. This will be later paid back by the customer, but depending on the billing cycles of the contractor and the payment terms and discipline of the customer, may take some weeks. During that time, the contractor’s business with the customer runs into a temporary loss situation, which can strain the company’s credit line, particularly if the company has several customer projects that require that the contractor is financing the customers’ projects in advance. Project outlays in addition come with the risk that the customer may go bankrupt and the contractor will not get them reimbursed, because the deliverables paid with them may become part of the insolvency estate or lose value when the customer project has been terminated.

Profitability and liquidity seem to oppose customer happiness. A focus on the monetary side of the project negatively influences the customer’s perception of the performance of the contractor. It gives the customer the impression that the contractor is greedy, and that this greed is diminishing the success that the customer will have from the project.

Investing in the project to accelerate work, meet deadlines independent of customer payments, and to increase the value of the deliverables for the customer reduces the margin from the project, at least when the additional costs are born by the contractor.

Figure 1 shows how a company that gets its income from customer projects calculates is profitability from

  • the revenues from the individual projects
  • the costs that are incurred by these projects
  • and by the general and administration (G&A) costs that cannot be assigned to individual projects but are incurred as overheads by the entire organization to be able to perform this project portfolio

Figure 1: Marginal costing model for a project contractor with a portfolio of 6 projects

For project contractors, the risk is high that the profit from the projects may be impacted by reduced revenues, increasing costs for the projects or increasing costs for G&A. Project business management deals with high risk business, and the causes of such disappointments in the company’s main ledger are numerous. Problems with project costs may come from poor cost estimating, unexpected rework, poor subcontracting or other incidents that drive the costs of a customer project. Revenue reductions may stem from incomplete deliverables, at least in the customer’s perception, from delayed payments that move the income into the next business year, from withheld payments by dissatisfied customers, or from projects that are terminated before the full scope has been delivered and invoiced.


To read entire article (with footnotes and references), click here


Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of articles by Oliver Lehmann, author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016. See author profile below.

About the Author

Oliver F. Lehmann

Munich, Germany



 Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc., PMP, is a project management author, consultant, speaker and teacher. He studied Linguistics, Literature and History at the University of Stuttgart and Project Management at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he holds a Master of Science Degree. Oliver has trained thousands of project managers in Europe, USA and Asia in methodological project management with a focus on certification preparation. In addition, he is a visiting lecturer at the Technical University of Munich

He has been a member and volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute, since 1998, and serves currently as the President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter. Between 2004 and 2006, he contributed to PMI’s PM Network magazine, for which he provided a monthly editorial on page 1 called “Launch”, analyzing troubled projects around the world.

Oliver believes in three driving forces for personal improvement in project management: formal learning, experience and observations. He resides in Munich, Bavaria, Germany and can be contacted at [email protected]

Oliver Lehmann is the author of the book “Situational Project Management: The Dynamics of Success and Failure” (ISBN 9781498722612), published by Auerbach / Taylor & Francis in 2016.

To view other works by Oliver Lehmann, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/oliver-f-lehmann/



Commercial Project Management

Expands the body of knowledge into an essential domain


Advances in Project Management Series

By Robin Hornby

Calgary, Alberta, Canada



Most of my career in IT and software development has been spent with vendors – migrating from an emphasis on hardware, to software, then to services as the decades passed. Services were really always a part of it, usually bundled, but the reality of managing a delivery team where real dollars are being consumed against a fixed project budget only struck home when I joined a dedicated contracting outfit in the early ’80s. There I started to experience the unique problems faced by both vendor project managers (PMs), and increasingly by PMs operating under commercial terms or constraints, as encountered in larger corporations operating an internal economy.

These problems fall into two general and related categories. The first is the lack of standards and the need that arises for an extension to the body of knowledge, not supplied by current offerings, such as PMBOK®, or PRINCE2®. The second category arises from the multiple views of project management (client, prime, and subcontractors) that inevitably exist in this environment. This demands flexibility from the vendor, who must adapt to the client (more often than vice-versa) and who is also faced with the need for internal (vendor) management discipline.

This has spawned a number of potential failure causes uniquely observed in the commercial project environment – poor integration as exhibited by project ‘silos’, poor recognition of the business role of PMs, poor connection between sales commitments and delivery capability, futile generation of multiple SOWs when really only one project is operating, poor project management communication, plummeting client satisfaction, and narrow or disappearing vendor margins.

  1. Overview of the Situation

The introduction of a business relationship between a services firm, their project manager, and a sponsor who is now a customer has a salutary effect on the traditional project management role. Project managers with little experience in these situations manage less effectively, jeopardizing customer satisfaction and project profitability. At the same time, executives or owners of the firm are often unfamiliar with the disciplines of project management, especially at an early stage of their firm’s evolution, so their support for a struggling project manager is lacking and the firm may never gain the foundation for healthy growth or even survival.

My generalized observations are:

  • PMs lack experience and knowledge of business essentials, fail to run their projects as profit centers, and have difficulty understanding that their sponsor is also their customer; and
  • Business owners are unaware of the potential for project management disciplines to enhance their business operations and are missing opportunities to gain much-needed business control.

Firms who have primed their PMs with business acumen and balanced an enthusiastic and skillful sales team with delivery management disciplines are rewarded with both successful projects and repeat business, which is the secret of a firm’s profitability and longevity.

This, of course, is easier said than done. The essence of the problem is the inevitable encroachment of business management demands into the exclusive realm of project management. The PM requires training, proper exposure to legitimate vendor interests (and sometimes an attitude adjustment) to be successful.

The intersection between business and vendor project management can be expressed in three simple terms:

  1. Customer satisfaction and repeat business;
  2. Employee skill, growth and retention; and,
  3. Profit

Contemplate the advice I received from a boss at my old consulting company who had a unique way of emphasizing these three priorities of the professional services firm:


To read entire article, click here

Editor’s note: The Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books previously published by Gower in UK and now by Routledge worldwide. Information about Routledge project management books can be found here.


About the Author

Robin Hornby

Alberta, Canada


After graduating from Queens University Belfast with a degree in aeronautical engineering and a Masters in applied science, Robin’s career began with IBM United Kingdom as systems engineer. Moving to Canada in 1977, he worked in the telecommunications sector as systems planner before embarking on his project management career with DMR Consulting. When DMR expanded overseas, Robin accepted a six-month assignment in Melbourne, Australia, where he assembled a team of DMR consultants to successfully implement a time-critical on-line health insurance system. Returning to Edmonton, he managed multiple government contracts and assumed responsibilities as office development manager.

In 1987 Robin returned to Australia to help establish the Canberra and Perth offices and provide training as part of the acquisition of about 100 consultant staff into DMR. Back in Canada in 1990, he joined the Calgary office of DMR as a member of the management team for DMR Western Region, with responsibility for systems delivery and project profitability. In 1995 he was offered the role of National Delivery Manager for Intergraph Canada, and in a few years returned the services business to profitability. This role continued following the establishment of Tempest Management Inc. (TMI) in 1997 which allowed the pursuit of wider interests including a ten-year affiliation with Mount Royal University to teach the PMBOKÒ curriculum and collaborate in the development and delivery of custom courses for corporate clients.

Robin is the author of three books, most recently Commercial Project Management – a Guide for Selling and Delivering Professional Services. Recent consulting assignments have included project risk reviews, contract reviews, PM coaching, and delivery and project office management roles. His current focus is on writing and conducting seminars on the aspects of project management he believes are neglected – commercial practice, methodology for collaborative procurement of services, and PM leadership to achieve project quality.