Introduction: The Iron Law of Megaproject Management

Bent Flyvbjerg, 2017, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, Oxford University Press, Chapter 1, pp. 1-18.

21 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2016 Last revised: 29 May 2017

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Date Written: April 2017

Abstract

Megaprojects are large, they are constantly growing ever larger, and more and more are being built in what has been called the biggest investment boom in history. This chapter serves as an introduction to megaprojects, and to The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management. First, megaprojects are defined and the size of the global megaprojects business is estimated. Second, drivers of the megaproject boom are identified, including monumentalism and the technological sublime. Third, ten things you must know about megaprojects are detailed, from their tendency to suffer from uniqueness bias to their overexposure to black-swan events. Fourth, the "iron law of megaprojects" is identified as a main challenge to megaproject management: "Over budget, over time, under benefits, over and over again." Finally, the main structure of the Handbook is set out as covering the what, the why, and the how of megaproject management, in terms of the challenges, causes, and cures that students of megaprojects must decipher to better understand and better manage megaprojects.

Keywords: Megaprojects, scaling, infrastructure, megaproject management, management, decision making, cost-benefit analysis, cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, optimism bias, strategic misrepresentation

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent, Introduction: The Iron Law of Megaproject Management (April 2017). Bent Flyvbjerg, 2017, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, Oxford University Press, Chapter 1, pp. 1-18. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2742088

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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