Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Berlin airport project failure

Category Airport, News
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Table of contents

Executive Summary

This report has been compiled to seek to inform the Project Board of how our stakeholders may be perceiving delays which have arisen during the Brandenburg Airport project (BBC, 2013). Resolutions have been proposed to overcome these issues with each stakeholder group.

Furthermore, a number of lessons that the Project Board could learn from have been identified, discussed. Recommendations have also been made to seek to ensure the ongoing success of the project and to seek to ensure that these types of issues do not arise again.

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This report has been compiled to seek to inform the project board of how our stakeholders may be perceiving delays which have arisen during the Brandenburg Airport project (BBC, 2013). In recent news coverage (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013) it has become apparent that a number of stakeholders have become critical of the project delays, therefore it may be necessary to engage with these groups to seek to positively influence their options in regards to this project (Atkinson, 1999).

Stakeholder Perception of repeated delays

A number of dissatisfied stakeholders have been identified through recent news reports (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). This is concerning as to ensure that the project is an ongoing success (Wang and Huang, 2006) it is important that we seek to positively influence their opinions (Bourne, 2005). Each of these stakeholders has to varying degrees expressed concerns over the delays (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). Therefore, we must seek to enhance their opinion, though as these groups are so diverse a number of means will need to be utilised (Bourne and Walker, 2008).

Lessons Learnt

A number of lessons may be learnt from the implementation of this project (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). It’s important the Project Board reviews what has gone well, what could have gone better and how things may be undertaken differently in the future (Kerzner, 2012).. This will help to ensure that the project is implemented in light of the lessons which have been learnt far. The most important lessons which have been learned so far should be considered at the next Project Board meeting. These have been identified by reviewing the project’s progress to date (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). Therefore the lessons that need to be considered are:

  • The importance of maintaining ongoing communication with all stakeholders (Wang and Huang, 2006).
  • The importance of contingency planning (Anderson and Grude, 2009).
  • The importance of feasibility studies and the appraisal of various management systems e.g. for fire safety or for baggage transportation (Kerzner, 2012) (based on BBC, 2013; Local, 2013).

At the next Project Board meeting each of these three factors should be considered, as each one has had a detrimental effect on the project to date (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013).

The Board should consider how ongoing communication is managed with stakeholders, as to date the project failures have been widely published (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). This has led to concerns being raised over the project’s implementation and the capabilities of the project team (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). It’s well documented that stakeholder engagement is a key factor which may affect a project’s success or failure (see as an example; Phillips 2012; Wang and Huang, 2006; Yuan 2009). Therefore, it is imperative that the Board considers the ongoing stakeholder engagement and seek to learn from our recent experiences.

Additionally, another important factor that the Board should consider is the implementation of contingency planning for the remainder of the project. To date, a number of technical issues have arisen, however due to the lack of contingency planning in the early stages of the project the costs have now risen and the delivery timeline has increased (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013). If contingency planning was utilised in the early stages of this project it is more likely that it could have been delivered (Thamhain, 1986) in line with the programme and on budget with the required quality standards (Anderson and Grude, 2009).

Furthermore, another important lesson that the Board should consider is the importance of undertaking feasibility studies (Soderlund, 2002) and the appraisal of various management systems e.g. for fire safety or for baggage transportation. To date, the delays in this project have stemmed from critical systems failures (Kerzner, 2012). The importance of undertaking meaningful feasibility studies to achieve project success is well documented (see as an example: Mackenzie and Cusworth, 2007; McNulty, 2004). Therefore, to ensure that these problems do not arise again, it is imperative that the Project Board seeks to review and plan how feasibility studies will be conducted for the remaining duration of this project.

Each of these factors and the impacts that they have had on the project’s implementation to date (BBC, 2013; Local, 2013) must be considered by the Project Board at their next meeting (Anderson and Grude, 2009). If these issues are considered, discussed and plans are implemented to seek to redress these (in line with the recommendations that have been outlined for each one above) it is possible that the project will be delivered within the revised programme, to budget whilst meeting the quality standards that are necessary (Mackenzie and Cusworth, 2007; McNulty, 2004). This is imperative to seek to ensure that no more delays are caused by the project team and to ensure that the costs and project programme do not need to be increased further (Thamhain, 1986), as this will have a detrimental impact on how our stakeholders view the project.

Critical Reflections of the Role of a Project Manager

Project managers need to have a variety of skills in order to successfully implement projects in a variety of settings. The key skills that are pertinent to them being able to attain success are as follows:

  • Be organised (Frame, 1999)
  • Be able to multi-task (Kerzner, 2013)
  • Being able to prioritise (Atkinson, 1999)
  • Be able to disseminate information clearly (El-Sabaa, 2001)
  • Be a leader of people (Pinto and Trailer, 1998)
  • Be able to foresee issues and seek to mitigate them (Kerzner, 2003)
  • Be able to understand costs and predict when these may increase.
  • Be able to plan a project and manage its programme (Brown, 2000)
  • Be able to engage stakeholders positively (Verma, 1996)
  • Understand and communicate priorities so that the project team delivers on time (El-Sabaa, 2001).
  • Be aware of quality standards and ensured that they are adhered to throughout the project (Atkinson, 1999)

Each of these factors affects the successful implementation of projects (Kerzner, 2013). To date, many of these skills have been learnt from practically implementing projects, as project manager’s gain experience through undertaking these their skills improve (El-Sabaa, 2001). Through my experience, I have already gained many of these skills. However, it is necessary for me to improve my communication and engagement skills as most of the work that I have undertaken has been away from relevant stakeholders or insider my project team. Therefore, it would be useful to engage with some external stakeholders so that I could enhance my communication and engagement skills in practice (Brown, 2000).


In conclusion, this report was compiled to seek to inform the project board of how our stakeholders may be perceiving delays which have arisen during the Brandenburg Airport project (BBC, 2013). A number of solutions have been provided for the Project Board to consider. It is hoped that the implementation of these will enable the project to be completed to quality standards, on time and to budget.


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Berlin airport project failure essay

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