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Megaprojects – Challenges and lessons learned

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Megaprojects – Challenges and lessons learned

Authors: Zidane Yuocef J-T, Agnar Johansen, Siva Ekambaram,

Presented at the 26th IPMA World Congress 2012, Crete, Greece.


Projects have become popular work form in modern organizations. Megaprojects can be seen as the wild beasts in the project world, they are hard to tame, known for their complexity, vast size, expensive cost, and long time frame. These projects bring big changes in the geography of countries and life of people. Some of these megaprojects become landmarks for a country and bring significant prosperity, but some become unforgettable catastrophes.

One of the definitions of megaprojects is that they are the projects in which the cost exceeds one billion US dollars. Examples of megaprojects include, "Channel tunnel", "London Olympics 2012" and "Ormen Lange offshore project". Though several pitfalls and challenges have been pointed out with respect to managing megaprojects, the relevance and the need of carrying out this kind of projects attract both the industries (practitioners) and academics.

There are many significant issues that must be addressed in connection with managing megaprojects. This paper focuses on the different initiatives taken to date, presents them and tries to find the area of the missing expertise to understand the characteristics and the management of megaprojects.