Planning to fail? A critique of current project definitions as a basis for benefit realisation

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Abstract

This paper explores the notion that current project definitions provide a singular view: that of project managers and this perspective leads to limited boundaries which are prejudicial to good project delivery. Thus, it takes a radically different view of project failure from that which is generally accepted. We will contend that viewing projects through this limiting lens often results in failure being attributed to reasons that are only symptomatic, and that root causes are not uncovered. The paper establishes that project failure is endemic and has existed for over 25 years. Attempts to apply control and prescriptive methodologies have made the position worse. We go on to describe an appreciative research project that uses a definition of projects emphasising the realisation of benefits, rather than production of outputs. We then give an overview of the success this has achieved so far. We conclude by making some proposals for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBAM2015, 7 - 9 September 2015, University of Portsmouth
Pages1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2015

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