Improving Project Management in Megaprojects Lessons from Burj Khalifa Project There is still the discussion of whether the Burj Khalifa project was a success or failure. From one point of view, which could be defined as a short-term the project management part could be defined as a failure.
It failed two out of three criterions of the “Iron Triangle’ (Atkinson, 1999) – the cost and time. The final cost was almost double than the initial budget and it was finished 9 months later than expected. Of course, such an enormous project has huge numbers of parties included that can mismatch and lead to failed project management. One example could be the massive change of the interior design which lead to an increase in the money spent, which on the other side lead also to increased time. Some questions that this dissertation will try to answer: Those interventions that lead to failure of the “Iron Triangle”, could they have been omitted, or if no, at least their impacts mitigated as a trade-off with something else? An additional issue was the 2008 crisis, which had an impact on Dubai, on material prices, on population, etc. Could some precautions or changes in the initial plan, have helped for obtaining the initial goal?
On the other side, it should not be missed the fact, the third pillar of the “Iron Triangle” is considered a success. The construction was and still is the largest built by men. The obstacle in front of building the tallest building could arise from everywhere, but from a construction point of view, it is a massive achievement. The construction company performed small scale tests in order to introduce new technologies for achieving its aims. This part of the project is considered success – then some answers should be given to how was possible? What were the strategies implied to achieve success? And what was the price in terms of trade-offs?
The research will aim to take the good and the bad the practices analyze them and try to answer the previous questions?
Another fact should be taken into account when analyzing the project – it is in a long-term manner. The building is considered now as the landmark of Dubai and naturally the biggest touristic attractions, leading to new working places and etc. Therefore one may say it is the success of the project. Another question then should be answered: If a project during its process has a notable increase in the cost and in the time, should be stopped and canceled, or it should be finished at all costs if it could be in benefit or success in the long term?
Potential methodology and data challenges:
The dissertation would use both secondary and primary data. The secondary data collection would aim to gain an understanding of the challenges in the project management of Burj Khalifa. For the primary research, data will be collected using semi-structured interviews via Skype with project managers that are in the field similar to those that constructed the Burj Khalifa. A key data challenge is a possibility that those companies would not agree to such discussions. An alternative option is to conduct interviews with well-known specialists in project managers who have knowledge of the project. The final option would be to conduct an entirely literature-based analysis, relying on journal and project reports.
Improving Project Management in Megaprojects Project benefices:
Successful analysis of how a mega-project can be improved would benefit other project managers in the Middle East and all over the world. As mega-projects get bigger, an understanding of the way scale and context affects project success has both practical and theoretical importance.
As usual, learning from previous mistakes leads to progress, therefore with successful analyses how the cost and time efficiency could have been improved, other project managers of megaprojects could benefit, or at least there will be laid the foundations of dealing with such problems.
Risk and ethical considerations:
For secondary data, this has to be done to a high standard, including choosing high-quality sources, referencing all sources, and avoiding plagiarism. For the primary data, ethical considerations include informed consent, respect for anonymity and confidentiality, and respect for privacy.
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