5 Rules to Effectively Managing Your Megaprojects

Mark Bridges
4 min readJun 9, 2022


Megaprojects have a significant impact on a nation’s economic activity, productivity, social harmony, and environment. According to estimates, 90% of Megaprojects are completed late and above budget. These overruns impact not just a country’s budget, but also other variables.

These cost overruns are due to technical challenges, changes in design and operational needs, an increase in expenditures, disagreements over responsibility, and new regulations. The higher the complexity of a project, the more difficult it is to predict potential barriers, changing circumstances, and unanticipated opportunities.

Megaprojects are often defined as initiatives costing $1 billion or more, taking several years to plan and execute, involving multiple public or private entities, and affecting millions of people.

Research was conducted on 6 London megaprojects to synthesize rules for managing projects, particularly megaprojects. Multiple academic institutions contributed in the study, including University College London, University of Queensland Business School, and Imperial College London.

The study benefited from prior, concurrent, and ongoing research undertaken by one or more of the authors. The whole period of the investigation extended 10 years.

Among the megaprojects considered in detail were High-Speed 1, Heathrow Terminal 5, Infrastructure for the 2012 London Olympics, Crossrail, Heathrow Terminal 2, and the Thames Tideway Tunnel project.

It has been demonstrated that the management approach for Megaprojects benefits from the following 5 rules:

1. Evaluate previous success factors.

2. Allow for surprise occurrences.

3. Test and try first.

4. Adjust and distribute risks aptly.

5. Employ Innovation from beginning to the end.

The rules acquired are applicable to the administration of both megaprojects and smaller projects. Despite the complexity of huge, high-stakes initiatives, the 5 simple guidelines can assist increase their efficacy. These requirements provide adaptation while keeping the necessary stability for the effective execution of projects.

Let’s analyze a few of the rules in further depth.

Evaluate previous success factors

Examining diverse project sectors and research organizations in order to apply what is learnt to own project is the objective of this activity. In addition, it entails documenting, evaluating, and gathering earlier experiences and applying them to the current project.

This procedure involves reviewing case studies and visiting other project sites. In addition, subject matter experts are utilized to aid with assessments.

Prepare for surprise occurrences

This rule is about retaining flexibility and adaptability in teams and contracts to accommodate unforeseen events. In order to cater to the element of surprise in projects, other components of this technique include adapting behaviors to successfully manage unexpected events and sharing risks.

Test and try first

This criterion necessitates simulation and modeling so that solutions may be evaluated swiftly and affordably. In addition, it demands previous preparation in order to produce solutions with minimal mistakes. Trials are conducted off-site in order to collect a plethora of vital information that permits Risk Mitigation and Advance Planning. On-site trials and testing provide a smooth transfer to the operations team.

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Mark Bridges

I blog about various management frameworks, from Strategic Planning to Digital Transformation to Change Management. https://flevy.com