Megaprojects mean very large projects like building of airports, Metro train network etc. It is often very difficult to assess whether a megaproject is successful or not if one goes by the yardstick of only completion within time and budget. This is because most of the megaprojects are completed well beyond their schedules and well above the budgeted costs. Megaprojects have a large number of stakeholders. New stakeholders are added as the project proceeds. The expectations of stakeholders may change during the course of the project. This results in not only changes in the scope of the project but also changes in contracts with suppliers. This in turn affects the entire cost structure of the project.
Megaprojects are also more vulnerable to changes in the external environment. Change in the government, change in the state of the economy etc affect the progress of a megaproject. Political intervention is often a big issue in megaprojects. A number of Megaprojects in India have gotten delayed because of political opposition to land acquisition for these projects. To sum it up in nutshell, there are too many conflicts of interest in megaprojects.
Leaders and managers of megaprojects, therefore, should declare a flexible timeframe with regard to the opening and completion a megaproject. The media monitors megaprojects and if there is delay in opening or completion, a negative perception about the project is created.
While budgeting for megaprojects, considerable amount of budgetary slack should be built in. This ensures that the project is able to meet unforeseen, contingency expenditures. The probability of facing allegations of cost overruns is reduced when considerable budgetary slack is factored in. It is also wise to keep the core group of stakeholders, who influence the course of the project, to as limited as possible. This reduces conflicts of interest. A hierarchal organizational structure is needed in such projects so that decision making can be quick and timely.
It is also advisable that managers of megaproject maintain interaction with the media. If the media has any query about the project it should be adequately addressed by the project manager. This ensures that misreporting about the project doesn’t take place. Managers and leaders of megaprojects need to have a very holistic, 360 degree view. And they need a broadness of mind and approach that can only be matched by the scale of the project that they are managing.