Projects emerge as a response to the needs of the environment or opportunities of development. They are characterised by having a definite schedule to deliver specified objective hence involve commitment of resources (smith 2002). Project management is therefore the act of coordinating and directing these resources to achieve project objectives of time, cost and quality. Multiproject management on the other hand is a management process of which sought to adapt, refine and end enhance project concepts and techniques to align with the complexity of multiple deliveries, multiple stakeholders, interproject coordination and shared resources (Pellegrinelli et al 2007).

Stadiums are developed with an objective of increasing match-day revenue, remodelling the design features in order to achieve Iconic status and/or solving constraints of existing facility (Aritua et al, 2008, the Political Economy of Football, 2007). Apparently, English premier league clubs have geared towards optimising the trend by either constructing a new iconic stadium or developing their old site (Aritua et al, 2008). Iconic stadiums are structurally and aesthetically complex and today's increasingly complex building and infrastructure projects demand efficient planning, organisation and time management skills in addition to superior technical know-how (Burohappold official Website). As any management approaches, project management in delivering iconic stadium has challenges which need to be addressed for effective delivery of such mega structures.

The objectives of this report were to identify project management challenges and approaches for the delivery of an icon stadium as a single project (Emirates Stadium) and developing guidelines for delivery of a project in a complex multi project set up (Olympic Stadium Case Study) A detailed EIA was carried out and approvals giving by the local authority before the commencement of the project.

Emirates Stadium

Project Overview

Stadiums are developed with an objective of increasing match-day revenue, remodelling the design features in order to achieve Iconic status and/or solving constraints of existing facility (Aritua et al, 2008, the Political Economy of Football, 2007). Apparently, English premier league clubs have geared towards optimising the trend by either constructing a new iconic stadium or developing their old site (Aritua et al, 2008). Iconic football stadiums are structurally and aesthetically complex and today's increasingly complex building and infrastructure projects demand efficient planning, organisation and time management skills in addition to superior technical know-how (Burohappold official Website).

The Emirates Stadium ( 1) is an iconic football stadium located in Holloway in the London Borough of Islington and is the current home of Arsenal Football Club. Proposals for the new Ashburton Grove arena were initially announced in 1999 to increase the capacity because Highbury Stadium capacity had eroded from 73,000 in 1935 to about 38000 (a capacity too small for a club to be competitive at the highest level). In 2004 Sir Robert McAlpine signed a design and build contract to build a 60,000 all-seater stadium.(4Projects website).

The project also involved regeneration scheme which included housing, a new waste recycling plant, community health care facilities, and nursery, museum and public transport improvements. The scheme was estimated to create about 1,800 jobs, over 2,000 new homes, and lever approximately £400 million into the area, aside from the £390 allocated for the stadium (Arsenal, 2004).

1.0 Project Management Challenges identified by the Groups

Identification of challenges for the construction of the Emirates Stadium was done by five groups. The bar chart in 2 below highlights the project management challenges identified by the groups as regards to the Emirates stadium project and their frequency in groups' presentations.

Assuming that challenges which had a frequency of 3 (greater than 50%) in 2 are key project management challenges associated with the project, then the key challenges identified by groups were; Stakeholder Management, Design and Quality, Time, Project Cost, Site Location and Communication and Document Control.

The approaches proposed by the groups to manage these challenges are summarised in table 1 .

Table 1 Key Project Challenges and Group Approaches to managing them

Key Challenges

Group Management Approach

Stakeholder Management

· Stake holder participation in planning process

· Elaborative communication of project aims and benefits to the stakeholders


· Collaborative planning

· Document referring of previous projects

· Choosing Contractors based on past experience

· Design detailing to Client's requirement

Control of Project Cost

· Collaborative planning

· Ensure sound communication between designers and contractor to ensure each party carries out their job appropriately

· Ensure regular site meetings as well as stakeholders' meeting


· Using ‘Design and Build' Contract strategy or Contract Management

· Ensure the design team and contractor work together from the start of the project

Communication and Document Control

· Collaborative planning

· Efficient flow of information to guarantee the control of design since it is design and build

Site Location

· Eliptical shape design of the stadium to maximise the triangular shape of the site

· Extensive site investigation and incorporating risks in the estimates

Established Best Practice to Manage Key Project Management Challenges

Established best practice discusses practices dominating in journals and books as important in practice. According to these resources project management challenges are usually significant during the formative stages of the project lifecycle (during project identification and definition) (Aritua et al 2008). The challenges include, client management, selection of procurement route and design management and stakeholder management.

Client management provides a platform relationship between the client and the project team (Aritua etal 2008). The chairman and board of directors who strategically run football clubs' affairs are the ones who are defined as ad hoc client in stadium development. The assumption is that they are skilled and competitive in running of the football club as a sport and business with little knowledge on delivery of construction projects (Aritua etal 2008, Bower 2003). A management solution would probably be developing expected relationships that would ensure timely communicating client's requirements and expectations.

The selection of procurement route depends on a variety of factors relating to the project's priorities and the client's characteristics (Turner, 1997 and Masterman, 2002). Procurement route has an impact on project cost, project time and the design of the stadium. It has been discovered that design-and-build strategy has been prioritised in stadium construction which has been attributed to the risk-averse nature of club owners whose objective is to transfer all risks to the contractor who deliver final product for a preset price hence cost driven rather than quality(Aritua etal 2008). However it is recommended that selection of procurement and design management should enable the designers to innovate iconic designs.

Stakeholders are individuals or groups of people with clear interest on a project. They are classified as primary if directly involved in planning and/or execution of the project or secondary if they are not directly involved in the project (aritua etal 2008, smith 2007). Stakeholders are also categorised as positive if they are supporting the aims and objectives of the project (clients, project manager, material and equipment supplier etc.) or negative if they are deemed not to wish the project to proceed (in this case local residence and business owners who were relocated). For iconic projects stakeholder management is critical and involves reconciling expectations of all the stakeholders to avoid disruption which might compromise time, cost or quality (Aritua etal 2008). This could be achieved by collaborative planning and elaborative communication of project objectives.

A significant management challenge in project execution stage is project Monitoring and Control which involves progress tracking on a project and taking action where required (Smith 2007). Projects which are not monitored exert a risk of extended time or over budget expenditure. Tools such as earned value techniques are used to audit work progress and this is achieved by necessary and sufficient document control and regular project team meetings.

Critical evaluation of Groups' definition and management of project challenges

In evaluating the groups' definition of project management challenges and the suggested management approach to best practice, it was noted that the groups' discussion on project management approach did not define the stage in a project life cycle when the challenge is encountered. Some challenges which were noted like site location are much aligned to technical detail and are indirectly related to management.

However, the groups identified major management challenges that could have locked the project and collaborative planning was identified as a key management approach.

Olympic stadium

Overview of the project and its context

Olympics games are a world renowned sports competition which is held once in every four years. Athletes from all over the world come to one city to compete against each other in variety of sports to realise a dream of becoming world champions. Modern Olympic Games started in 1896 with the first edition staged in Athens, Greece. The popularity of the games has progressively increased with just 14 nations competing in Athens 1896 to 204 nations in the Beijing Olympic games 2008 (Rosenberg 2008). Countries have been bidding towards hosting this major event because of the economic benefits associated to it such as huge influx of tourists, construction jobs for building the infrastructure, productivity gains delivered by new transport infrastructure (to accommodate tourist influx) and urban regeneration and also the honour of hosting the biggest and prestigious mega event. London won the bid of hosting the next edition in 2012.

Considering that this is a huge event involving a lot of nations, a lot of preparations and planning goes into it far ahead of commencement. London preparations are underway. This involves construction of the big five venues (Olympic stadium, Aquatic centre, International Broadcasting Centre, Velo park and Olympic Village) and transport infrastructure development to accommodate the boom of tourist, athletes and officials who will patronise the even.

The London Olympic Stadium ( 3) which would be the centre piece of the Olympics is located at Marshgate Lane in Stratford in the Lower Lea Valley. It has been designed to have a capacity of 80,000 of which 55,000 would be demountable seats that would be take away after the games. The 25,000 permanent seats would be transformed into an athletic stadium to host a variety of sporting, educational and cultural community events. It is also expected to attract other business and investment and act as a hub for the communities living in and around the Olympic.

Construction of the stadium started in may 2008 (three months ahead of schedule) and completion is targeted by the summer of 2011.

Olympic stadium as part of a programme

The delivery of the Olympic stadium will have all the characteristics (Cost, time and quality) of the project. However, it is not expected to deliver the objective of Olympic delivery in totality, hence it is a project within a programme management setup. Programme management is an aggregation of management of projects rated to some common objective which would not have achieved if the projects were managed independently (pellegrinelli etal 2006).

As it is in a single project, there are also four phases expected in a life cycle of a programme which are; identification, definition, execution and closure. Identification is the unveiling of ‘‘the overall objective” for the programme and positions in this case the delivery of Olympic games. At this stage boundary conditions are given to the programme explaining project units what will be delivered (Haughey, 2001). This is achieved through Programme brief, which should include the programme vision, outline benefits, risks and issues, as well as estimates of costs time-scales and effort (lycett etal, 2003). The London Olympic bid was done to accelerate the much needed regeneration to reaffirm London status as a world city, to accelerate regeneration in East London and to showcase London's and the United kingdom diversity and sporting prowess on the world stage (London Assembly 2003). This vision was developed into estimates of cost and time scale as well as legacy. Definition phase includes the improvement of the programme vision and objectives, creation of the programme organisation and setting up processes and support structures required to facilitate the management of the programme (Haughey, 2001). It is at this stage when the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) was formulated to be responsible for developing and building the new venues and infrastructure for the games (London-2012 Website). During this stage, the inter-dependencies of the projects (in this case, construction projects at Olympic Park which includes the stadium and transport infrastructure development) within the programme were clarified and used as the basis for the high-level programme plan, which provides an indication of the sequencing of projects (lycett etal, 2003). At Programme Execution stage the individual project managers are expected to run the identified projects in a cross functional manner, while the Programme Manager would monitor progress, assess risks and report on progress (Haughey, 2001). Closure stage is a review stage to ensure that the programme delivers the planned objectives and expected legacy (OGC 1999). 4 shows a typical life cycle of a programme.

As in delivery of any Iconic stadium London Olympic stadium is expected to have management challenges which include client management, stakeholder management and choice of procurement route and design management.

The three key stakeholder relationships (which define complexity) in a multiproject environment relates to those multiple interface between projects, the project and the programme manager and the parties involved in the project (Payne 1995). Managing these relationships is a complex setup because of the cross functional relationships that exist as shown in 5

Cross functional relationship in a multi project environment

Conflict between projects, is a natural feature of a multi-project environment and manifests itself in terms of competition to achieve high prioritisation ratings and/or strong competition for specific resources (Lycett 2002). Recent research suggests that competition between projects is not in the best interests of the programme as a whole. The competition creates a level of anxiety that interferes with performance (Eskerod 1996). In an environment of intense competition, projects operate so independently and disregard progress in other (Moss-Kanter, 1989). Research has shown that projects fail because of lack of effective communication because of lack of common interests and understanding. Generally, effective communication is about exchanging important information between groups of people with the aim of influencing beliefs or actions. Shehu and Akintonye (2008) stated that communication is central to any change process. The greater the change, the greater the need for clear communication about the reasons and rationale behind it, the benefits expected, the plans implemented and its proposed effects. Programme management is no different; it is aimed at exchanging timely and useful information with the stakeholders or team. Lack of cross-functional communication is a major challenge to programme management (Bartlett 2002, CCTA 1995, Williams 2006). The project needs a high degree of involvement in coordination to improve project monitoring, control and overall performance (Smith 2002).Document control could be fostered to ensure shared learning between the projects and creation of supportive open culture that creates an atmosphere for this to happen. The Olympic Delivery Authority is encouraging collaborative and intergrated working with its contractors. The authority has established communication channels with the main contractors to facilitate collaborative working, but has yet to determine how best to engage with wider supply chains that will soon be operating across the construction site (National Audit Office 2008b). The Olympic stadium project is expected to utilise this opportunity to manage conflict with other projects for the benefit of the programme as a whole.

The complexity of programme control can also rise if programme management strive to exercise unnecessary degree of control driven by excessive levels of detailing. Excessive control can reduce flexibility of the project manager and piles reporting mechanism on the programme manager (Platje etal 1993, Reiss 1996, Gray et al 1999). If a programme manager is getting excessive details he/she is exposed to a risk of failure to understand real issues that are significant to the programme (Leven and braganza 1996) and consequently a deterioration of relationship between the project and programme manager would emerge encouraging the culture of blame game (Lycett 2002). Olympic stadium project is expected to develop its own risk assessment strategy, albeit, all risks across the projects could be interrelated. The Olympic Delivery Authority is expected to be furnished with information that will enable wider approach of risk management and reduce excessive control on the project. Another issue that is also often raised in a multi project setup relates to what programme managers want in order to be satisfied with the iconicity of the stadiums and the means by which those buildings have been procured. Consequently, it is important to evaluate the programme managers' criteria, their importance and then seek performance to match the criteria.

Projects in a programme need to align themselves to the changing business environment (pellegrini1997). Environmental influence exerts a significant impact in the project. The factors include political, economical, sociological, technological, legal and environmental factors. The cumulative consequence of the changes they cause on each project can have a multiplier effect on the influences which would other wise easily be managed for a single project. The Olympic stadium is expected to have in internal mitigation measure for environmental factors. Contingency allowances in estimates are normally used to cover for environmental effects. However, for the purpose of good management practice, effective use of contingency will require a balance between seeking to minimise the use of contingency (National Audit Office 2008b).


The report has discussed that project management for delivery of an Iconic Stadium has challenges which are emergent within the first two stages (Identification and definition) of the project life cycle. The key issues are client management, managing stakeholder expectation and choice of a procurement route. These challenges are exacerbated when the iconic stadium is being managed in multi project set up because of complex cross functional relationships that exist between the projects and the environment.

These challenges however are best managed by collaborative team work and effective document control which enhances shared experiences and understand between major players in the project


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