The amoebic growth of project costs

a cultural literary review

When projects fall off-track, costs can quickly add up--often far exceeding estimates. Such escalation is especially surprising when project managers know the source and understand the reasons causing delays and disruptions. This paper examines project overruns--to understand why and how project costs escalate exponentially--via a in-depth post-delivery claims analysis of several large private industrial projects that far exceeded budget. It begins by explaining its use of an amoeba as a model for depicting the causes and effects of cost escalation. It then describes why the perspective described in this paper--that costs increase exponentially and surprisingly--contrasts the general assumptions of linearity in cost build-ups and the additivity underlying much work in project risk management. This paper then outlines this study's seven-stage, project expenditure-based structure--one progressing from "estimating for the bid" to "accelerating to compensate."
member content locked

Log in or join PMI to gain access

or Join



Related Content


Publishing or acceptance of an advertisement is neither a guarantee nor endorsement of the advertiser's product or service. View advertising policy.