Back to Volume 2 | Summer 2017

Infrastructure Project Performance: There Must Be a Different Way

Executive Summary

In the United States, one of the few areas of political confluence appears to be around the need to address the country’s crumbling infrastructure. As priorities in governmental spending have shifted toward social objectives, investment in infrastructure over the past several decades has been woefully inadequate, not only in terms of expansion to keep pace with the needs of society, but also in terms of basic asset maintenance. While the construction industry should welcome this new focus on infrastructure investment, it must also deliver value for that investment as a clear priority, given the sheer scale of funding contemplated. Their recent track record for meeting project objectives is unacceptable.

With the stakes so high, and project performance at a historic low, it is imperative that the approach to the design and delivery of infrastructure change radically. How projects are delivered is as critical as the mechanism by which they are funded. Application of a robust Project Production Management (PPM) framework to the overall design and delivery process for infrastructure projects in the U.S. provides the means to ensure desired project outcomes and not result in “more of the same.”

The construction industry has an opportunity to significantly benefit from the meaningful infrastructure investment that appears to be in the political offing. Much of that opportunity will involve public financing, or a combination of public and private financing. The public will clearly benefit from improving productivity in project delivery, and the industry must not pass up the opportunity to provide that benefit. There is a different way, but this will only be enabled by embracing change in the current contractual and project management model by applying advances in technologies and effective implementation of PPM to project delivery.

If the industry’s track record is any indication, we need a different approach to ensure successful outcomes that are on time, on budget, every time.



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