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ODA/LDA Chaotic Project Management style

Martin Slavin writes: A consistent pattern of behaviour exhibited by ODA/LDA personnel we have encountered has become apparent to all of us who have been actively involved in the critical appraisal and/or opposition to the Olympic development. It is their chaotic project management.

That this amounts to something more than anecdotal evidence driven by sour grapes (moaning) is now beginning to emerge consistently from a variety of other reliable sources. See below:

  • From: New CLM boss to stop ODA 'meddling' in 2012, Grant Prior, Contract Journal, 06 September 2007

    The new head of London 2012 delivery partner CLM is demanding showdown talks with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) as tension between the pair continues to grow. CJ understands that the move comes as bosses at the Laing O’Rourke-led CLM consortium are becoming increasingly frustrated by the ODA’s “constant meddling”.

    Both organisations are based in the same offices at Canary Wharf, east London and relations between the two are understood to be fraught. One senior office source said: “CLM just wants to be left alone to get on with what it has been brought in to do, and what it is good at – delivering construction of the Games.

    “The problem is that ODA officials are always standing over their shoulder and constantly meddling in things that they don’t really know about.“Every day there is something different they are checking and re-checking. There’s definitely a feeling there that the ODA are the bureaucrats almost standing in the way of CLM who are trying to get on with things despite them.” There needs to be some sort of separation of power there rather than the ODA thinking it can constantly tell CLM what to do.”

    See more at: Contract Journal

  • From: Vincent Cable (Twickenham, Liberal Democrat), London Olympics debate, Parliament, Westminster Hall debates, Tuesday, 16 May 2006

    …..I want to try to convey to the Minister the fact that in my area, as in many parts of London, let alone other parts of the country, there are mixed feelings about the way in which the Olympics are being funded. There is a general sense of pride and optimism, but also grumbling. I am anxious that the grumbling should not become anger, and to that end we must ensure that things are properly managed financially.

    …..[in]the work that I did before I became an MP. I was involved in the oil and gas industry, with projects that were often as big as the Olympic games. In the private sector, no less than in the public, there can be massive errors and cost overruns.

    In the private sector, there are disciplines to deal with that, which we used to call scenario planning. Managers are forced to set out what could happen rather than what they would like to happen and think will happen. In the funding of the Olympic games, I do not sense a hard scenario planning discipline. Are people looking at worst case scenarios, budgeting for them and preparing for the worst possible outcome, not in order to knock the games or undermine them but to be hard-headed and ruthlessly realistic about the prospects?

    We are all concerned with trying to make a success of the games. Success is about money as well as sport.

    “In order to try to analyse the problems, I have been trying to get a handle on the costs of the games. One of the difficulties is that quite apart from the big document that the costs are contained in, they are being presented in many different ways. Revenue and capital are also mixed up, there are differences between cash flow and balance sheet accounting and all kinds of conventions are being used, so it is difficult to get a handle on the costs that we are talking about and how they are being set off against revenue streams.”

    More at Olympics debate

  • From: House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, Report on Preparations for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Risk assessment and management, 10 July 2007

    4. The costs of the Games were seriously underestimated at the time of the bid and the private sector funding seriously overestimated. Subsequent to our hearing, the Secretary of State announced a budget for the Games which totalled over £9 billion, an increase of some £6 billion on the position at the time of the bid. At the time of the bid:
    • whole categories of cost were omitted, including tax, contingency margin and security;
    • the Department expected to raise £738 million of private sector funding, which would have covered a quarter of Olympic costs, but now there is little prospect of significant private sector funding being achieved.

    8. Strong progress monitoring and risk management arrangements are essential, but are not yet in place. For the programme as a whole, incorporating 42 sub-objectives assigned to 17 lead organisations, the Department should develop a framework of timely progress and risk reporting, which ultimately feeds through to the Olympic Board and provides early warning of potential difficulties. This framework should be supported by arrangements in each individual organisation, and work to complete these should be a priority.

    More at: Games Monitor

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