Industrial Megaprojects: Concepts, Strategies, and Practices for Success

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John Wiley & Sons, Mar 31, 2011 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
Avoid common pitfalls in large-scale projects using these smart strategies

Over half of large-scale engineering and construction projects—off-shore oil platforms, chemical plants, metals processing, dams, and similar projects—have miserably poor results. These include billions of dollars in overruns, long delays in design and construction, and poor operability once finally completed.

Industrial Megaprojects gives you a clear, nontechnical understanding of why these major projects get into trouble, and how your company can prevent hazardous and costly errors when undertaking such large technical and management challenges.

  • Clearly explains the underlying causes of over-budget, delayed, and unsafe megaprojects
  • Examines effects of poor project management, destructive team behaviors, weak accountability systems, short-term focus, and lack of investment in technical expertise
  • Author is the CEO of the leading consulting firm for evaluating billion-dollar projects

Companies worldwide are rethinking their large-scale projects. Industrial Megaprojects is your essential guide for this rethink, offering the tools and principles that are the true foundation of safe, cost-effective, successful megaprojects.

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Whilst working for a major EPC Contractor on a large mining Mega-project, the Project Manager made the wise decision that since we were in a Feasibility Stage, everybody on the project was provided with a copy of the Industrial Megaprojects book to read and we organised monthly 'Lunch & Learn' sessions to discuss the chapters and try to relate the learnings to our project.
The book is not the easiest read, but if you have a context (e.g. you are working on a large Megaproject at the time or have in the past), it is much clearer to follow. We took multiple learnings and ideas from it and it created some great discussions between all levels, experiences and specialisms on the project, resulting in a successfully incorporated them into our Pre-Feasibility and Feasibility studies.
Some of the better outcomes implemented as a result of the book were:
- Getting the entire team to really think about and plot the various project stakeholders even from the areas outside their specific package constraints.
- Shifting the focus of the project from "How can we make this project work?" (which is common for technical specialists to focus on) to: "How can we kill this project?" or "What are the real reasons for doing this?".
The change in focus was particularly interesting and hopefully in the long run provided a better understanding of the project risks and rewards for the Steering Committee, prior to authorising funds to proceed. Thus reducing the chance of a failing project once it moves into Execution stage (which is the expensive part).
At the time of writing we only used the learnings up to Chapter 4, the rest of the book is a good read, just we had not used it in our sessions to date.

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About the author (2011)

Edward W. Merrow is the founder and CEO of Independent Project Analysis, Inc., the world's leading consulting firm evaluating billion-dollar megaprojects of national and international oil, chemical, pharmaceutical, and major mineral companies, and benchmarking their cost, schedules, safety, startup, and operational performance. Before founding IPA in 1987, Merrow was a research analyst and later the director of the Energy Policy Program at the RAND Corporation.

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