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Leading megaprojects : a tailored approach
Ajam M., CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 2020. 412 pp.  Type: Book (978-0-367340-50-6)
Date Reviewed: Apr 8 2021

Leading a megaproject may sound great, wonderful, challenging, and tough; however, the specific practical approaches to do so are yet very few or just for large proprietary corporations.

In today’s world, industrial and infrastructure megaprojects represent one of the fastest growing directions for consolidated developments requesting large budgets, many people, and other resources. They are characterized by strategic ventures of private, public, or government agencies with global interests.

Megaproject costs typically start at $1 billion; their scope is outstanding and may include more than a single output; their deployment and final accomplishment covers many years; and there are many subprojects to be fulfilled along the megaproject’s life cycle. Many teams with high performing people and subject matter experts are employed in long-term work, evaluating many specific key performance indicators and other metrics. A megaproject’s output impacts a large number of people and/or organizations, while the expected benefits must come as measurable improvements and be viewed as opportunities by the megaproject’s stakeholders.

Leading such large and complex projects, or megaprojects, requires a diversity of hard and soft skills and other areas of business management knowledge. Megaproject leadership should also embrace and track the engagement of common interests, assembled from private and public stakeholders with serious expectations. The mentioned leadership aspects are analyzed in this book, which fills a gap in the current literature on megaprojects. The book presents detailed theoretical and practical aspects on how to lead megaprojects, from concept to success, based on the proposed “tailored approach.”

The author, Mounir A. Ajam, is a well-known project and megaproject management expert and leader, with over 30 years of practical project management experience in capital project industries. He is founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of SUKAD Project Portfolio Management Solutions (SUKAD Corp.), as well as an entrepreneur, author, speaker, consultant, advisor, and coach. With this book, he tries to present a logical framework in a practical language, to serve the megaproject management and leadership community.

The content targets project owners, company executives, project governance boards, senior managers, megaproject managers, megaproject teams, and other organizations involved with project and megaproject management, including engineering, construction, and other industries.

As the title suggests, there are two main parts. Each part consists of four sections, with a total of 36 chapters. The final chapter is a dedicated “Call for Action.”

Part A, “Current Reality to Tailored Approach” (the Leading megaprojects of the title), includes 21 chapters on the current reality and state of practice. It provides the main knowledge content, including relevant definitions, a literature review, observed challenges of the current state of practice, case studies, critical concepts for megaproject leadership, organizational competence and capacity, and a tailored approach for megaproject development.

Two important components for megaproject leadership are detailed in this part. The first component is the megaproject life cycle model--the CAMMP Project Life Cycle--with its three main phases (discovery, development and delivery), ten stage gates, and specific stage management processes. The second component deals with the tailored methodological approach, the Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects for Megaprojects (CAMMP MP), which is also one of the core solutions of the “SUKAD Way for Managing Projects.”

Part B, “Simulation” (the tailored approach of the title), includes 14 chapters and describes how to apply, step by step, the tailored approach for simulating a realistic but hypothetical megaproject. It starts with project presentation, and then details the three main phases with specific processes of the megaproject life cycle model. The tailored approach has been conceived in order to lead the acquisition phase of any capital investment--viewed as an asset to generate future benefits and goodwill.

The final chapter comes with six points for the professional community to ponder.

The book comes with a list of acronyms, a bibliography, and an index. The text is very clear, with many figures, flowcharts, tables, and useful explanations. This great theoretical and practical book is a must-read for all those interested in leading and managing megaprojects.

Reviewer:  Mihail Sadeanu Review #: CR147235 (2108-0205)
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Project And People Management (K.6.1 )
Organizational Impacts (K.4.3 )
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