Megaprojects and Risk Quotes

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Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition by Bent Flyvbjerg
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“Also, the technologically high-risk Apollo aerospace programme is considered a classic success story of megaproject planning and implementation. The cost overrun on this US$21 billion project was only 5 per cent. Few know, however, that the original budget estimate included US$8 billion of contingencies.18 By allowing for risk with foresight, the programme avoided ending up in the type of large cost overrun that destabilises many major projects during implementation. The Apollo approach, with its realistic view of risks, costs and contingencies, should be adopted in more major projects.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Infrastructure is the great space shrinker, and power, wealth and status increasingly belong to those who know how to shrink space, or know how to benefit from space being shrunk.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“We have documented in this book that: • Cost overruns of 50 per cent to 100 per cent in real terms are common in megaprojects; overruns above 100 per cent are not uncommon; • Demand forecasts that are wrong by 20 per cent to 70 per cent compared with actual developments are common; • The extent and magnitude of actual environmental impacts of projects are often very different from forecast impacts. Post-auditing is neglected;”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Megaproject development today is not a field of what has been called ‘honest numbers’.14 It is a field where you will see one group of professionals calling the work of another not only ‘biased’ and ‘seriously flawed’ but a ‘grave embarrassment’ to the profession.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Communicative and deliberative approaches work well as ideals and evaluative yardsticks for decision making, but they are quite defenceless in the face of power.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“strong incentives and weak disincentives for cost underestimation and thus for cost overrun may have taught project promoters what there is to learn, namely that cost underestimation and overrun pay off. If this is the case, cost overrun must be expected and it must be expected to be intentional.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Uncertainty in estimating viability is related in this way not only to the innate difficulty of predicting the future but also to power and interests.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Cost underestimation and overrun have not decreased over the past seventy years. No learning seems to take place; • Cost underestimation and overrun cannot be explained by error and seem to be best explained by strategic misrepresentation, namely lying, with a view to getting projects started.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“We would add to this that regarding cost overruns there is no indication that the calamity identified by the Major Projects Association is limited to the public sector. Private sector cost overruns are also common.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“We therefore conclude that cost overrun has not decreased over time. Cost overrun today is in the same order of magnitude as it was ten, thirty or seventy years ago. If techniques and skills for estimating costs and avoiding cost overrun in transport infrastructure projects have improved over time, this does not show in the data. No learning seems to take place in this important and highly costly sector of public and private decision making.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“The cost estimate of the prospectus turned out to be a best possible outcome based on the unlikely assumption that everything would go according to plan with no delays, no changes in performance specifications, no management problems, no problems with contractual arrangements or new technologies or geology, no major conflicts, no political promises not kept, and so on.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition
“Nevertheless, with respect to cost development, there is a striking similarity between these and other major projects: there is a tendency towards a significant underestimation of costs during project appraisal. This is also the conclusion we draw when we review data from a large number of major transport infrastructure projects, and from other types of project as well.”
Bent Flyvbjerg, Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambition