Cost–benefit Analysis, Planning and Innovation
Edited by Hugo Priemus, Bent Flyvbjerg and Bert van Wee
Chapter 9: How to Overcome Major Weaknesses in Mega-Projects? The Norwegian Approach
9. How to overcome major weaknesses in mega-projects: the Norwegian approach Knut Samset 9.1 INTRODUCTION A truly successful project is one that has been implemented in accordance with its budget and time schedule, and which signiﬁcantly contributes to the fulﬁlment of its agreed objectives. Also, it should have only minor negative eﬀects, its objectives should be consistent with needs and priorities in society, and it should be viable in the sense that the intended long-term beneﬁts resulting from the project are produced. These requirements were ﬁrst formulated for US-funded international development projects by the USAID in the 1960s. They were subsequently endorsed by the UN, OECD and the European Commission. They are summarised in terms of ﬁve requirements or success factors that have to be fulﬁlled: more speciﬁcally the project’s eﬃciency, eﬀectiveness, relevance, impact and sustainability. These are tough requirements that go far beyond the performance measures that are usually highlighted in the media and attract public attention when news about shortcomings in mega-projects hit the headlines. In most such cases the debate is about the projects’ eﬃciency measures, such as their budgetary compliance and progress, and in some cases also their costeﬃciency as compared with similar projects. However, these eﬃciency measures are only the ﬁrst signs and immediate indicators of a project’s success. Clearly, they are main features of the contractual arrangements governing the implementation of the project, and therefore essential concerns both for the commissioning party and...
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