Project Crisis Management Techniques to Overcome the Problems of Schedule Delays and Cost Overruns

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The government authorities responsible for the infrastructure in Abu Dhabi/UAE are suffering from the repetitive problems of cost overruns and schedule delays of their development projects. This study shows that more than 93% of the projects reviewed were accomplished with cost enhancements averaging almost 8.7% more than their original budget. Moreover, more than 90% of the projects were executed with schedule delays averaging 8.3% more than their planned duration. Thus, on average, 6.44 million dirhams are being added to the budget of every project during execution, as well as a whole month of delay. So, this research aimed to resolve these problems by utilizing the concepts of project crisis management. An extensive literature review was conducted to study the causes of project crisis and the techniques that have been proven to overcome and mitigate the problems of cost overruns and schedule delays. The techniques of project planning and initiation along with methods of project monitoring and control were also investigated. Qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to collect real-life data about the development projects. The qualitative data research aimed to highlight the main drawbacks of the current practices utilized by the government authorities. The quantitative research aimed to determine the main factors for cost overruns and schedule delays. It was found that time enhancement and cost enhancement are correlated with multiple variables including scope identification, rules and responsibilities assignment, initial estimation, project control, technical aspects, and contingency planning. These variables were found to explain 88% of the variation in cost enhancement in the studied projects, and 84% of the variation in time enhancement. Based on the data analysis, several recommendations, which are essential to fulfill the gaps in the authorities’ practices, are proposed in order to increase adherence to project budgets and schedules. The proposed recommendations include incorporating the techniques of lifecycle cost estimation, alternative evaluation, time and cost control, resources monitoring, activities acceleration, and schedule crashing into the project management process. Together, these recommendations form a comprehensive package of proven techniques to overcome the problems of schedule delays and cost overruns in the concerned development projects.
project crisis management, cost overruns, schedule delays, infrastructure, United Arab Emirates (UAE), development projects, management process