Public Project Management

What is public project management? Public project management involves the development of government projects, such as the building of schools, clinics, and housing. Very few of these projects are completed on time, on budget and fully achieve the envisaged outcomes.

Why does this happen? This often happens because there is limited project management capacity and systems and processes are inadequate. In addition, conventional project management approaches may be applied which are insufficient to address the requirements of public projects.

To address this I am working on a public project management guide and training material. This is designed to provide practical guidance that can be used by both technical and non-technical managers and is based on the following definition of project management:

Project management is a structured, shared process of ensuring that well-defined projects are delivered on time, on budget and within specification and generate their required benefits.

The unique approach developed in the guide can be illustrated through reference to the ‘shared’, ‘well-defined’ and ‘generating benefits’ characteristics referred to in the definition.

Shared means that project management processes must be readily understood and shared so that everyone working on the project understand what is required and is empowered to make a suitable contribution.

Well-defined means that sufficient work has been done early in the project to fully understand the implications and requirements of the project so that uncertainties and risks are minimised.

Generating benefits means the project must achieve its intended outcome. Projects are not undertaken for their own sake but must be completed in a way that ensures that the envisaged benefits of the project are actually generated.