The papers I chose were about the Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) and
the Sino Iron Group (SIG). Both these cases mentioned similar issues that led
to the failure or delay in these two projects. Some of the issues include a
failure to identify and serve relevant stakeholders, lack of communication
between the project management team and powerful stakeholders, lack of
appropriate budgeting, cost estimation, and time management, and a failure
during the project planning stage.
In terms of layout, both reports were similar in structure. They both
divided the body of the paper into sections titled “Lessons Learned,” began
with an executive summary, and listed their references on a References page.
However, the BER report provided an introduction and conclusion, which the SIG
report did not. The SIG report mentioned more of the lessons they learned, though
a few seemed very similar. I like the layout in the Lessons Learned sections of
the BER report; it has a one-sentence lesson that is the takeaway of that
section, which I think is a good way to summarize the section and demonstrate
exactly what was learned. It also uses better formatting to draw attention to
the takeaway, which is a stark contrast to the basic formatting provided in the
SIG report. It was more enjoyable to read the BER report because they used
shorter paragraphs with fewer noticeable errors in grammar compared to the SIG
report which has paragraphs that run over the length of a page in some instances.
The BER group’s use of indentation and higher-contrast colours for the section
titles helped make the report more appealing to read.
In terms of references, the BER group appears to have a more credible
report. They used a total of twenty references, while the SIG group used only
nine. Most of the SIG group’s lessons repeatedly reference three of their nine
references, while the BER group’s references are more evenly distributed across
their Lessons Learned.
The executive summaries were both concise and outlined the reports very
well. The SIG executive summary is shorter and only briefly mentions the issues
to be discussed in the report. There appears to be a mathematical mistake in
the SIG report’s executive summary, where they state that the initial budget
for the project was $2.5 billion and that it ended $7.5 billion dollars over
budget, which brought the final cost to $11 billion dollars, which does not
make sense because 2.5+7.5 = $10 billion. It also lists out the failures of the
Sino Iron group, “in the areas of stakeholder, scope, cost, and time management,”
as well as possible solutions. The BER executive summary is more qualitative,
it summarizes the result of the project and the major reasons for its failure,
including “inability to keep a constant scope,” “technical flaws,” “lack of
communications and risks and stakeholder’s identification.” It lists possible solutions to these problems,
including network diagrams, risk management, and improved communication.
Stakeholder identification and management appeared to be neglected in
both projects. The SIG report mentions that the project managers of Sino Iron
misclassified the government of Australia as a low-risk and low-power stakeholder,
though that was not the case. In addition, they failed to identify the public
as a stakeholder. The BER report mentions that stakeholders were not adequately
informed about a fire alarm system testing failure.
The communication between the project management team and the
stakeholders was underwhelming. The BER report mentions a communication failure
between contractors and subcontractors, and technical failures caused by lack
of communication with the third-party companies working on the project.
The reports mention how budget-planning and cost estimation should have
been given more effort. The SIG report mentions that the project’s budget was
downplayed due to the team failing to account for uncertainties in equipment
and resource demand. It also mentions that the management team was
inexperienced in mining projects, which likely hurt their cost estimation and
budgeting efforts. Similar problems were acknowledged in the BER report, in
terms of the failure to account for the cost of lawsuits and other extra costs.
Finally, the reports both mention failure during the project planning
stage. The project managers did not define and alter the project’s scopes. The
BER report states that the scope was changed after the project began because
someone in the company wanted more space for stores within the airport. It also
mentions that the project involved no reliable scheduling techniques. The SIG
report implies that mangers were unaware that waiting for approval from the
government would delay the project’s start date, and that Sino Iron had no