by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Project Manager : Project Manager June July 2013
34 Project Manager Being human Is the root cause of project failure technical problems, or does it lie in even more fundamental issues? CAREER CENTRE MEGAPROJECTS WORTH MORE THAN $1 billion are failing at a staggering rate of 65 per cent and projects worth less than $500 million are failing at a rate of 35 per cent, (Project Manager December/January 2012: Speed kills). A project is considered a failure if: • Te schedule slips, costs are overrun or the project overspends by more than 25 per cent • Te project is delayed by more than 50 per cent • Tere are severe and continuing operational problems into year two of the project. Construction disputes are also on the increase, with the direct cost of resolving disputes in Australia high -- and rising. Recent estimates suggest disputes cost the industry between $560 and $840 million annually. ese are worrying trends for the industry, but what is the root cause? ere are a number of contributing factors, not least the global economic slowdown and more confrontational tendering practices. But we believe there is something deeper that the industry has not e ectively managed for too long, the impact of human relationships on project success. Why do projects fail? It almost sounds too simple, but it is widely recognised that projects generally fail because of human behaviours, not technical issues. "By and large projects are not driven to failure by a lack of technical knowledge but by project behaviours that may be reasonably anticipated," according to William Hayden's 2004 article 'Human Systems Engineering, A Trilogy: Part 1 Elephant in the Living Room'. "Project failure to meet objectives can be prevented by elimination or mitigation of the root causes. ese causes are non-technical in nature." However, unlike other industries that have realised the contribution of human factors GRAHAM SCOTT Graham Scott is a senior consultant with Thinc management consultancy. He holds a Masters in Organisational Psychology, has more than 25 years' industry experience developing high performance teams in project environments, has worked on both public and private sector projects, and is a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology. in relation to team performance, safety and success, the construction industry still has not achieved this realisation with respect to team performance in project delivery. Take the aviation industry for example. Following a spate of fatal accidents in the 1980s and 1990s, research showed that the majority of accidents were ultimately caused by a lack of communication or negative team dynamics in the cockpit. In response, the industry embraced a concept called Crew Resource Management (CRM) and has subsequently undergone a major transformation. Crew Resource Management emerged from a workshop at NASA in 1979, when it found that the primary cause of most aviation accidents was human error. CRM is not concerned with the technical knowledge and skills required to operate equipment, but rather with the cognitive and interpersonal skills needed to manage resources within an organised system. CRM aims to foster a culture where the freedom to respectfully question authority is encouraged, and communication and relationships are proactively managed. In the airline industry, aircrew are now checked on their ability to apply CRM principles, just as they are in the ability to manage an aircraft. IT IS WIDELY RECOGNISED THAT PROJECTS GENERALLY FAIL BECAUSE OF HUMAN BEHAVIOURS, NOT TECHNICAL ISSUES
Project Manager Apr May 2013
Project Manager Aug Sept 2013