Common Problems and Lessons Learned from Managing Large-Scale US Government IS/IT Projects

Common Problems and Lessons Learned from Managing Large-Scale US Government IS/IT Projects

Peerasit Patanakul (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA) and Saif Syed Omar (Stevens Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2011070106
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To promote sustainable development, many government agencies initiated large-scale government projects. However, managing such government projects to their success is often a challenge to many project managers. Many projects fail because of their large scope and high degree of complexity. The failure of these government projects has significant impact on sustainable development, both at the organizational level and the public at large. To enhance the success of government projects, this study investigates the management of selected government IS/IT projects in the US; identifies common problems; discusses some lessons learned; and provides propositions for future research. The results of this study will provide significant contributions to the literature and implications to practitioners.
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2. Background

Many researchers have studied the management of large-scale projects and indicated that a majority of them have ended up with poor project performance. Studies have also been conducted to investigate the causes of poor performance. The results show that the main causes of cost overruns of megaprojects stemmed from a lack of realism in initial cost estimates, low level of contingencies, insufficient consideration on changes in project specifications, designs, and exchange rates, and undervaluation of price changes, expropriation cost, and safety and environmental demands (Flyvbjerg et al., 2003). The major causes of schedule delay of a major public transportation project came from lack of owner’s abilities and strategies to manage hi-tech megaprojects, lack of appropriate scheduling tools, underestimating the technical requirements, and public resistance due to environmental concerns (Han et al., 2009).

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