Operations and Systems Management

Our PhD students

Photo of Sue McClory

Sue McClory

  • Role Title: PhD Student
  • Address: Richmond Building, Portland Street, Portsmouth, PO1 3DE
  • Telephone: TBA
  • Email: susan.mcclory@myport.ac.uk
  • Department: Operations and Systems Management
  • Faculty: Portsmouth Business School


Learning from Project Management Failures

There is evidence that lessons gained from major projects have not really been learnt by the very same organizations involved in those projects, as evidenced by multiple failures of UK Government Software Projects and other major projects such as the Millennium Dome and Heathrow T5 baggage system.

Why do organizations and institutions fail to learn from projects failures? And when such failures happen, what are the factors that can lead to the unlearning process? What are the mechanisms for feedback and change in routine dynamics?

The purpose of this research is to investigate the role of dynamic organizational routines in the learning and unlearning from failures, develop a new theory in order to address the above questions, and to provide a mechanism for feedback and change in routine dynamics and in project management in general.

The research will gather primary and secondary project failure data from various resources and stakeholders to compile a coding system for different reasons, such as lack of resources, defective design, bad execution, time delay, budget overrun, etc. The research will also explore the existing rich literature on organizational learning, organizational routines, and project management.

The research involves construction of operational research and reliability analysis inspired models to study root causes of failures, including Failure Mode Effect Analysis and Risk Priority Number, comparing results with related work by Williams (2005) and Mahler (2009).  Previous work on learning from failures by Labib and Read (2013) will provide a preliminary model for development and application to cases of failure of large projects.