Politics and project performance

the fourth dimension of project management

The body of project management knowledge traditionally has three dimensions: cost, schedule, and technical performance. This article proposes that a fourth dimension is that of politics and examines three case studies of how politics affects project performance. Northrop Corporation's Tigershark aircraft had an auspicious beginning but became ensnarled in Carter administration politics and was eventually cancelled. President Eisenhower's massive interstate highway plan ran into huge budget and schedule problems yet was saved by a program of aggressive coalition building.The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) absorbed $2 billion in tax dollars and eleven years' of work before its funding was terminated. Among the lessons learned from these studies are: publicize projects to the masses, gain full management support, and make sure that the benefits of large projects are widespread.
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