Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Causes of project failure - lack of central control

Photo: The PC-9/A is the two-seat single-engine turboprop aircraft that is the major basic training aircraft for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The PC-9/A is best known to the public as the aircraft flown by the Air Force Roulettes in aerobatic displays at major events throughout Australia.

This post continues my short comments that began with Causes of project failures - responsibility without authority on the common reasons for project failure.

Some years ago the Australian Defence Forces began the development of a new basic trainer aircraft. The project ran over time and budget, a not unusual result with a Defence project. In this case, the over-run was so bad that an Inter-Departmental Committee was formed to review the project.

The Committee concluded that the project should be cancelled. Instead, Australia purchased the Pilatus PC-9.

A core problem with the project lay in the absence of central control. The Air Force as client kept wanting changes to the design of the plane. There was inadequate central control to resist these demands. The core design was never frozen, while costs blew out.

How often have you seen this, where the client keeps changing its mind?

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