• Cost overruns in transportation infrastructure projects: Sowing the seeds for a probabilistic theory of causation

      Love, P.E.D.; Ahiaga-Dagbui, D.D.; Irani, Zahir (2016-10)
      Understanding the cause of cost overruns in transportation infrastructure projects has been a topic that has received considerable attention from academics and the popular press. Despite studies providing the essential building blocks and frameworks for cost overrun mitigation and containment, the problem still remains a pervasive issue for Governments worldwide. The interdependency that exists between ‘causes’ that lead to cost overruns materialising have largely been ignored when considering the likelihood and impact of their occurrence. The vast majority of the cost overrun literature has tended to adopt a deterministic approach in examining the occurrence of the phenomenon; in this paper a shift towards the adoption of pluralistic probabilistic approach to cost overrun causation is proposed. The establishment of probabilistic theory incorporates the ability to consider the interdependencies of causes so to provide Governments with a holistic understanding of the uncertainties and risks that may derail the delivery and increase the cost of transportation infrastructure projects. This will further assist in the design of effective mitigation and containment strategies that will ensure future transportation infrastructure projects meet their expected costs as well as the need of taxpayers.
    • Cost performance of public infrastructure projects: the nemesis and nirvana of change-orders

      Love, P.E.D.; Irani, Zahir; Smith, J.; Regan, M.; Liu, J. (2017)
      The cost performance of a wide range of public sector infrastructure projects completed by a contractor are analysed and discussed. Change-orders after a contract to construct an asset was signed were, on average, found to contribute to a 23.75% increase in project costs. A positive association between an increase in change orders and the contractor’s margin were identified. Taxpayers pay for this additional cost, while those charged with constructing assets are rewarded with an increase in their margins. As the public sector embraces an era of digitisation, there is a need to improve the integration of design and construction activities and engender collaboration to ensure assets can be delivered cost effectively and future-proofed. The research paper provides empirical evidence for the public sector to re-consider the processes that are used to deliver their infrastructure assets so as to reduce the propensity for cost overruns and enable future-proofing to occur.
    • Enabling sustainable energy futures: factors influencing green supply chain collaboration

      Irani, Zahir; Kamal, M.M.; Sharif, Amir M.; Love, P.E.D. (2017)
      This article explores the relationship between sustainability strategies and future energy needs, supply chains need to reduce their CO2 emissions through developing their green credentials and improving performance. Knowledge management (KM) is an enabler to support collaboration efforts. The SCM and KM areas have largely focused on improving organisational performance. While the latter has yielded successful outcomes in different sectors, there is still a scarcity of research on identifying influential factors highlighting those aspects which may enable green supply chain collaboration (GrSCC), thus leading to sustainable energy futures and carbon-efficient production. This paper examines the role of KM in facilitating GrSCC. Through the identification of key factors extrapolated from the literature, a model for implementing GrSCC using a futures-based perspective is proposed. This paper inductively demonstrates the relationship between identified GrSCC factors through fuzzy cognitive mapping technique. Findings support a futures-based perspective that enhances understanding and refines forward-looking strategies for GrSCC.
    • From design to operations: a process management life-cycle performance measurement system for Public-Private Partnerships

      Liu, H.J.; Love, P.E.D.; Smith, J.; Irani, Zahir; Hajli, N.; Sing, M.C.P. (2018)
      Public–Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become a critical vehicle for delivering infrastructure worldwide. Yet, the use of such a procurement strategy has received considerable criticism, as they have been prone to experiencing time/cost overruns and during their operation poorly managed. A key issue contributing to the poor performance of PPPs is the paucity of an effective and comprehensive performance measurement system. There has been a tendency for the performance of PPPs to be measured based on their ex-post criteria of time, cost and quality. Such criteria do not accommodate the complexities and lifecycle of an asset. In addressing this problem, the methodology of sequential triangulation is used to develop and examine the effectiveness of a ‘Process Management Life Cycle Performance Measurement System’. The research provides public authorities and private-sector entities embarking on PPPs with a robust mechanism to effectively measure, control and manage their projects’ life cycle performances, ensuring the assets are ‘future proofed’.
    • The latent causes of rework in floating production storage and offloading projects

      Love, P.E.D.; Edwards, D.J.; Irani, Zahir; Forcada, N. (2014)
      There is growing demand for cost effective and reliable floating production systems to maximize marginal and new deepwater fields worldwide. Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels are considered to be the most economical and viable options to meet this demand. Yet, FPSO projects are prone to significant cost and schedule growth. On average, FPSOs have been reported to experience a 20% cost growth and are delayed by six months. Overruns and delays represent uncertainties for owners, contractors and financial institutions. In-depth interviews with twenty-three practitioners about their experiences with FPSO projects revealed that rework arising from design and construction errors were major contributors to cost and schedule growth. Key latent conditions contributing to rework are classified according to people, organization and project. Using retrospective sensemaking an examination of the determinant histories in a new build and conversion FPSO that experienced rework was undertaken. The sharing of experience(s) is deemed pivotal for reducing rework in future projects, particularly through the use of communities of practice that are able to stimulate situated learning to take place. A reduction in rework will not only reduce cost and schedule growth, improve operational performance and augment safety.
    • Making sense of rework and its unintended consequence in projects: the emergence of uncomfortable knowledge

      Love, P.E.D.; Smith, J.; Ackermann, F.; Irani, Zahir (2019-04)
      To make sense of the rework phenomena that plagues construction projects a longitudinal exploration and mixed-method approach was undertaken to understand its causal setting and why it remained an on-going issue for organizations contracted to deliver an asset. The research reveals that rework was an zemblanity (i.e., being an unpleasant un-surprise) that resulted in: (1) project managers ignoring established organisation-wide procedures and, at their discretion, amend them to suit their own goals while denouncing the importance of recording and learning from non-conformances; (2) a deficiency of organisational controls and routines to contain and reduce rework; and (3) an absence of an organisation-project dyad that supported and promoted an environment of psychological safety. A new theoretical conceptualization of error causation that is intricately linked to rework and safety incidents is presented. The research provides managers with ‘uncomfortable knowledge’, which is needed to provide insights into the determinants of rework that form part of their everyday practice.
    • Making Sense of Rework Causation in Offshore Hydrocarbon projects

      Love, P.E.D.; Ackerman, F.; Smith, J.; Irani, Zahir; Edwards, D.J. (2016)
      Retrospective sensemaking is used to determine how and why rework in offshore hydrocarbon projects occurred. Staff from organizations operating at the blunt end (e.g., clients/design engineers providing finance and information) and those at the sharp end (e.g., contractors at the “coalface”) of a project's supply chain were interviewed to make sense of the rework that occurred. The analysis identified the need for managers to de-emphasize an environment that prioritizes production over other considerations and instead systematically examine mechanisms and factors that shape people's performance. Limitations of the research and the implications for managerial practice are also identified.
    • Off the rails: the cost performance of infrastructure rail projects

      Love, P.E.D.; Zhou, J.; Edwards, D.J.; Irani, Zahir; Sing, C-P. (2017-05)
      Governments in Australia place great emphasis on the development and expansion of their rail networks to improve productivity and service the increasing needs and demands from businesses and commuters. A case study approach is used to analyze the cost performance of 16 rail projects constructed by a contractor between 2011 and 2014, which ranged from AU$3.4 to AU$353 million. Findings indicate that scope changes during construction were the key contributors that lead to the amendment of each project’s original contractual value. As a result, there is a need for public and private sector asset owners to establish a cost contingency using a probabilistic rather than a deterministic approach to accommodate the potential for scope changes during construction. To improve cost certainty during the construction of rail projects, it is suggested that use of collaborative forms of procurement juxtaposed with the use of Building Information Modelling and Systems Information Modelling are implemented. The utilization of such technological and process innovations can provide public and private sector asset owners charged with delivering and maintaining their rail networks with confidence projects can be delivered within budget and are resilient to unexpected events and adaptable to changing needs, uses or capacities.
    • Overruns in transportation infrastructure projects

      Love, P.E.D.; Sing, C-P.; Wang, X.; Irani, Zahir; Thwala, D.W. (2014)
      Transportation infrastructure projects are prone to cost and schedule overruns. At the time of contract award, a construction contingency budget is often used to accommodate for unplanned events such as scope changes. Recent empirical research has shown that rework during construction as a result of design changes, errors and omission are the major contributors of overruns in projects. The statistical characteristics of rework, and cost and schedule overruns that are experienced from a project's contract award for 58 Australian transportation infrastructure projects are analysed. Theoretical probability distributions are fitted to the rework, cost and schedule overrun data. Goodness of fit tests are used in conjunction with probability-probability (P-P) plots to compare the sample distribution from the known theoretical distribution. A Generalised Logistic probability density function is found to describe the behaviour of cost-overruns and provides the best overall distribution fit. The best fitting distribution for schedule overruns and rework data were the Four Parameter Burr and a Johnson SB distribution, respectively. The distributions are used to calculate the probability of rework, cost and schedule overruns being experienced. A case illustration is presented and discussed to demonstrate how the derived probabilities may be utilised in practice.
    • Risks and rewards of cloud computing in the UK public sector: A reflection on three Organisational case studies

      Jones, S.; Irani, Zahir; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Love, P.E.D. (2017)
      Government organisations have been shifting to cloud-based services in order to reduce their total investments in IT infrastructures and resources (e.g. data centers), as well as capitalise on cloud computing’s numerous rewards. However, just like any other technology investments there are also concerns over the potential risks of implementing cloud-based technologies. Such concerns and the paucity of scholarly literature focusing on cloud computing from a governmental context confirm the need for exploratory research and to draw lessons for government authorities and others in order to ensure a reduction in costly mistakes. This paper therefore investigates the implementation of cloud computing in both a practical setting and from an organisational user perspective via three UK local government authorities. Through the qualitative case study enquiries, the authors are able to extrapolate perceived rewards and risks factors which are mapped against the literature so that emergent factors can be identified. All three cloud deployments resulted in varying outcomes which included key rewards such as improved information management, flexibility of work practices and also posed risks such as loss of control and lack of data ownership to the organisations. These findings derived from the aggregated organisational user perspectives will be of benefit to both academics and practitioners engaged in cloud computing research and its strategic implementation in the public sector.
    • Social media and Web 2.0 for knowledge sharing in product design

      Irani, Zahir; Sharif, Amir M.; Papadopoulos, T.; Love, P.E.D. (2017)
      Working collaboratively with internal and external partners (suppliers, customers and internal stakeholders) has been at the epicentre of product design. Knowledge sharing has been well recognised in this context. However, there is limited research that has addressed the role of social media/Web 2.0 in facilitating knowledge sharing for sense- and decision-making within product design. To address this gap, this study draws on the resource-based view (RBV) of the firm and two vignettes that relate to ‘collaborative co-design’ and ‘collaborative design-to-order’. We illustrate the role of social media/Web 2.0 in building knowledge sharing capabilities for sense- and decision-making for internal and external partners during product design. Limitations and further research into the use of social media/Web 2.0 are also discussed.
    • Visualising a knowledge mapping of information systems investment evaluation

      Irani, Zahir; Sharif, Amir M.; Kamal, M.M.; Love, P.E.D. (2014-01-01)
      Information systems (IS) facilitate organisations to increase responsiveness and reduce the costs of their supply chain. This paper seeks to make a contribution through exploring and visualising knowledge mapping from the perspective of IS investment evaluation. The evaluation of IS is regarded as a challenging and complex process, which becomes even more difficult with the increased complexity of IS. The intricacy of IS evaluation, however, is due to numerous interrelated factors (e.g. costs, benefits and risks) that have human or organisational dimensions. With this in mind, there appears to be an increasing need to assess investment decision-making processes, to better understand the often far-reaching implications associated with technology adoption and interrelated knowledge components (KC). Through the identification and extrapolation of key learning issues from the literature and empirical findings, organisations can better improve their business processes and thereby their effectiveness and efficiency, while preventing others from making costly oversights that may not necessarily be only financial. In seeking to enlighten the often obscure evaluation of IS investments, this paper attempts to inductively emphasise the dissemination of knowledge and learning through the application of a fuzzy Expert System (ES) based knowledge mapping technique (i.e. Fuzzy Cognitive Map [FCM]). The rationale for exploring knowledge and IS investment evaluation is that a knowledge map will materialise for others to exploit during their specific technology evaluation. This is realised through conceptualising the explicit and tacit investment drivers. Among the several findings drawn from this research, the key resulting knowledge mapping through FCM demonstrated the complex, multifaceted and emergent behaviour of causal relationships within the knowledge area. The principal relationships and knowledge within IS investment evaluation are illustrated as being determined by a blend of managerial and user perspectives.