Big Dig Project Management Case Study

Project management lessons learned on the Big Dig, America's biggest megaproject, by a core member responsible for its daily operations

In Megaproject Management, a central member of the Big Dig team reveals the numerous risks, challenges, and accomplishments of the most complex urban infrastructure project in the history of the United States. Drawing on personal experience and interviews with project engineers, executive oversight commission officials, and core managers, the author, a former deputy counsel and risk manager for the Big Dig, develops new insights as she describes the realities of day-to-day management of the project from a project manager's perspective.

The book incorporates both theory and practice and is therefore highly recommended to policymakers, academics, and project management practitioners. Focusing on lessons learned, this insightful coursebook presents the Big Dig as a massive case study in the management of risk, cost, and schedule, particularly the interrelation of technical, legal, political, and social factors. It provides an analysis of the difficulties in managing megaprojects during each phase and over the life span of the project, while delivering useful lessons on why projects go wrong and what can be done to prevent project failure. It also offers new ideas to enhance project management performance and innovation in our global society.

This unique guide:

  • Defines megaproject characteristics and frameworks
  • Reviews the Big Dig's history, stakeholders, and governance
  • Examines the project's management scope, scheduling, and cost management—including project delays and cost overruns
  • Analyzes the Big Dig's risk management and quality management
  • Reveals how to build a sustainable project through integration and change introduction

Case Study of the Big Dig in Boston Essay

1280 WordsSep 11th, 20116 Pages

The Central Artery/Tunnel Project, known unofficially as the Big Dig, in Boston was the most expensive highway project in the U.S. and consisted of countless errors. The project had errors throughout the plan and design that lead to escalating costs, scheduling overruns, leaks, design flaws, poor execution, substandard materials and even four deaths. The Central Artery/Tunnel Project (also known as the ‘Big Dig’) was a scheme to rebuild Boston’s elevated Central Artery expressway, which cut through the city center, in order to eliminate this disturbing element and relieve the persistent traffic problems in the center of the city. The expressway has been replaced with an underground road. The project was too extensive to describe all the…show more content…

All these claims and changes piled up at the project management’s office. Many of these necessary changes are said to have been the result of flawed designs by the management consultant. However, because the management of the Department of Public Works did not have the same level of expertise as the management consultant, the Department depended heavily on the consultants and could not make independent assessments of whether the numerous claims for changes resulted from flawed work or were simply an unavoidable effect of building a very complex technical structure in a densely built-up landfill area while the old structure that had to remain open during the work. In the meantime, costs escalated massively during construction. This was partly caused by inflation, but also by the numerous changes made. The mounting cost overruns and awkward decision-making processes encouraged the project owner to reconsider its project organization. The owner established an Integrated Project Organization (IPO). Previously, many positions had been held by employees of both his client organization and the management consultant. Under the IPO, however, the most qualified person would remain and the redundant position was scrapped. In this way, the two organizations were integrated. The owner hoped to move the managers of the client organization closer to the information resources, but in practice this impeded oversight even further. It saved on costs but also removed the checks

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