Project Management: Project Failures Sydney Opera House

Topics: Project management, Sydney Opera House, Management Pages: 14 (4188 words) Published: November 19, 2012
Sydney Opera House

Historyp.3 – 4
Stakeholdersp.4 – 7
Stakeholder classificationp.5
Stakeholder Power/Interest Gridp.7
Causes for project failurep.8-10
Lack of risk managementp.9
Unrealistic timescale and Cost escalationp.10
Recommendationsp.10 – 14
Risk Managementp.11
Forecastingp.11 – 12
Stakeholder Engagementp.12 – 14
Referencesp.15 - 16


For this assignment the project chosen to critically analyse its failure is the Sydney Opera House. Critically analysing its failure and its consequences and identifying bad project management procedures made me look into this project intensively and evaluate it as a project failure with a “happy end”. This assignment will be divided in three main parts which are History where it will be explained what the Sydney Opera house is and what was the purpose of the project, a Stakeholders section where the key stakeholders will be identified and discussed, a Project Failure section identifying what bad management procedures were taken and for last there will be a Recommendations section recommending new procedures to avoid an over budget and over timed project, which this is part of. For the architect - Jorg Utzon – it is his “masterpiece”, to Australia as a country it is their representative monument as World Heritage (Design5 final report 2010). Although project manager and client are now “happy” with the final product it can still be considered as a project failure due to a huge overrun budget and over timed project with consequences that are still being repaired, almost 40 years later.

In 2003 Utzon is awarded with the Pritzker, the architecture’s “Nobel”. It was said of Sydney Opera House (from now on in this assignment also known as ‘SOH’) that it is one of the great iconic buildings of the twentieth century (Murray, P. 2004). It all started in 1957 when Utzon were chosen to be the architect for this project. Everything was going according with the project but two years after the new elected government (not the one that agreed with Utzon’s project) was getting impatient. More and more companies were being put into the project (in the final more than 165 companies, suppliers included, contributed to this project) and the costs were being added and the new government was pressing Utzon as much as the media trying to cut in costs and speed up the project*. They also decided to change the previous project after its construction as started and now instead of 2 theatre rooms they wanted 4*.Utzon was losing control of the situation and had an undesirable pressure under him. The initial cost was (Aus) 7 million dollars and in the end it has cost (Aus) 102 million dollars and a total of 14 years to be constructed, 6 more than it should be*. The Arup, engineers contracted for the engineering part stayed until the end of the project but Utzon left in the end , after designing the roof but not concluding. It was hard to keep two of the key stakeholders happy, the minister David Hughes and the SOHEC – Sydney Opera House Executive Committee so he decided to quit blaming the first of lack of cooperation but in fact even the acoustic consultants did not agree between each other (Murray, 2004 :66) and as a result of all these changes of plans and misunderstandings the Sydney Opera House – finished by three local architects – still did not had the proper acoustic, which was the first main factor that lead to a new opera house*. Nowadays the Sydney Opera House is already seen as profitable since its cost was already covered by the revenue made from customers (tourists mainly) but further improvements on accessing conditions were taken.


Before going back to the subject it is needed to take into account that a failed project is a project that is cancelled before...
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