The Major Projects Community is the trusted network for members of the Major Projects Knowledge Hub.  Ask for help on project issues from the Community, contribute to ongoing discussions, take part in our knowledge sharing activities and events, comment on articles or just make connections with other members.  The Community forum is hosted on Knowledge Hub, alongside the Government Project Delivery Community, providing opportunity for even greater connection and collaboration across projects.

Below are the latest discussions by theme. Login or register to join in the conversation.

A Welcome to New Members

  1. Welcome to new members

    Welcome to the Major Projects Community, which is attached to the Major Projects Knowledge Hub. To get you started as a community user, let me suggest three simple actions:

    1. Take a moment to complete your profile - perhaps including a profile photo and, if you wish, your contact details. We think that people are an important resource in knowledge sharing so you will want to connect with other users to ask directly for their advice and help or follow their activities and other users may want to reciprocate. This is far easier to do when you have a full and informative profile.

    2. Introduce yourself to the group by writing a post on the Forum under the Welcome to New Members Category. Say a few words about:

    • who you are and what you do
    • what are your hopes and fears in joining the community. In other words, what are you hoping to get out of it and what concerns do you have about joining

    3. Connect with this month's facilitators who you will find listed in the document 'This month's facilitators', which is in the library section of the community.

    20-04-2017 11:56 by Jonathan Norman

  2. RE: Welcome to new members

    Great to be here on Launch Day smiley

    24-05-2017 16:27 by Paul Morris

  3. RE: Welcome to new members

    Hi I work in the Profession and Standard's team in the Infrastructure and Projects Authority and manage a social network for the Government Project Delivery Profession.  I'm really pleased to be able to support and get involved in this coummunity as I think it has the potential to really help raise capability in project delivery across the UK. I'm also looking forward to connecting with others outside my own organisation who are of a like mind and interested in major project delivery.

    My fears are that I miss something really useful being discussed in this group while I'm doing all the other things I need to be doing. So I suppose I best be clever with how I use my Khub notification and favourite settings ;-)

    25-05-2017 10:31 by Adrian Davis

All General

  1. What happens if engineering is trumped by politics?

    The world needs megaprojects to deliver the economic and social goods that billions of people lack and to create the economic growth that will pay for them. But a bad project has consequences that go well beyond a specific bridge, tunnel, or sewage system. Is there a risk that we fall out of love with megaprojects not because they are beyond our engineering capability but because they are beyond our political appetite?

    The July 2015 McKinsey report on Megaprojects: The Good, the Bad and the Better, has few major surprises but some useful insights and it prompted me to reflect on the question of capability versus political will.

    02-06-2017 10:10 by Jonathan Norman

  2. Leadership

    When we talk of leadership we often talk of leaders. In your view is there a difference between them, and if so what is the key difference?

    18-07-2017 07:42 by Dicle Kortantamer

  3. RE: Leadership

    I have come to recognise (largely because it interests me and seems valuable) the growing phenomenon of distributed leadership. Working on projects, there are formal leadership roles - the sponsor, the project owner - but just as significant are the temporary leaders, those individuals from across the project team who step into a leadership role for a short period of time because that is what the project requires. Many of the traditional models and leadership roles now seem outdated in the post-digital, post-globalisation world and I think that this is reflected in the behaviour of senior leaders themselves who are adopting new roles, that of facilitator rather than governor, for example.

    19-07-2017 07:44 by Jonathan Norman


  1. Advice on kick-off messages

    Does anyone have any advice for imaginative (but appropriate) messages to share with a project team at the kick-off for a major project. I am looking for ideas that offer alternatives to worthy corporate announcements.

    20-04-2017 11:14 by Jonathan Norman

  2. What are the best media for communicating complex and nuanced data?

    The trouble with written reports is they can be a very long-winded way of communicating complex or nuanced data and their linearity (you start at the beinning and work your way through) makes them one-dimensional. Has anyone got experience of using video, infographics or other media for this purpose?

    19-05-2017 12:42 by Jonathan Norman

  3. RE: Advice on kick-off messages

    Not sure about at the start of a project, but when I want to motivate people to outperform the specifications or exceed customer expectations, I often ask them to think of themselves as stakeholders, neighbours, end users of the assets we are designing and constructing, or taxpayers (bill payers). A project team member in some form or another is each and all of these groups! I champion teams to embrace opportunities, not to focus on the negativities of risk. Smile, engage, be transparent and people will often give you the benefit of the doubt, but you can't please eveveryone and it's important not to waste significant amounts of energy doing so!

    07-07-2017 11:01 by Paul Morris

Consents & powers

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  1. Artificial Intelligence on Major Projects

    I am hearing more and more about Artifical Intelligence and its potential application on management of major projects, with Smart Wikis, chat bots and insights from smart analysis of multiple complex data sources.  Has anybody any experience of using AI on a major project and how successful has it been?

    09-05-2017 09:54 by Karen Elson

  2. RE: Artificial Intelligence on Major Projects


    Hi Karen, one of the ideas we are considering @ Tideway Dragons' Den is an AI algorithm. Will report back when public!




    02-06-2017 09:38 by Paul Morris

  3. Agile

    Adopting agile methods in large projects or organisations can be challenging, especially when agile methods are integrated with more traditional methods in large organisations. Brian Hobbs and Yvan Petit have recently published an article in the PMI journal (volume 48 number 3) on the challenges of scaling agile to large organisations.  Their findings from six case studies highlight that one of the key challenges is the difference in the role definitions between agile methods and more traditional methods. They also highlight that approval processes can be challenging in terms of negotiating special approval methods for agile. 

    Do you experience these issues in your organisation? What type of challenges do you have when using or interacting with agile approaches?


    11-07-2017 08:20 by Dicle Kortantamer


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Group Discussion: Leaders Must Lead

  1. Leadership Styles

    What are the leadership styles that are most valuable for project initiation, delivery and operations? What impact do they have on the project?

    05-07-2017 08:15 by Jonathan Norman

  2. RE: Leadership Styles

    I thought of this piece that I read a few weeks ago, I think it can help with part of the questions you asked. 

    How to change your leadership style as you progress through your project

    Hope it makes sense. 

    05-07-2017 10:44 by Ednah Nzombe

  3. RE: Leadership Styles

    Hi Jonathan, how about the different leadership actors and their syles? e.g. project manager as leader, programme / portfolio manager, project sponsor, or even organisational units like governance who may provide leadership?



    05-07-2017 11:28 by Dicle Kortantamer

Group Discussion: Making Sense of Transformation

  1. What's been your experience of transformation?

    If you have been involved in (or even leading) a transformation programme of some kind, what's been your experience? Good, bad or indifferent and why?

    07-06-2017 07:33 by Jonathan Norman

  2. RE: What's been your experience of transformation?

    Referencing a "Good" experience: 

    The importance of strategic planning cannot be overemphasized! Developing a strategic plan requires “seeing-the-future-marketplace” and acting to position the company to be ready when the time arrived.


    07-06-2017 10:51 by Ali Esshaq

  3. RE: What's been your experience of transformation?

    Delivering changes in business processes with an end user community who have different levels of knowledge, experience and conceptualise what the 'To Be is' has proved challenging

    07-06-2017 10:57 by John Chapman

Group discussion: Radical Engagement

  1. How do you balance inclusivity and progress

    How should organizations balance the imperative for progress in a major project with the requirement to make public involvement as inclusive as possible?

    31-07-2017 13:36 by Jonathan Norman

  2. RE: How do you balance inclusivity and progress

    my first thought is that it isn't about how quickly you start but how quickly you end.

    The Machiavelli quote that applies here is often truncated so much that the really valuable insight is lost - so here it is in the longer version and I've emboldened the bit that I think is the core of the problem.

    “Those who by valorous ways become princes…acquire a principality with difficulty, but they keep it with ease.

    The difficulties they have in acquiring it arise in part from the new rules and methods which they are forced to introduce to establish their government and its security.

    And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.

    This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them.” 


    So my partial conclusion is that the balance is actually to mourn the losses and socialise the benefits and recognise that this grieving process takes time and that people always move in the direction of self-interest.

    The next bit is Kahnamman and Tvesky's behavioural economics that shows that imagining a small loss outweighs large gain so the perceptions of self-interest are skewed but thats probably another post.


    01-08-2017 14:29 by Simon Harris

  3. RE: How do you balance inclusivity and progress

    Simon's comment opens a number of different perspectives, including the value of ritual in any kind of change process; the idea of celebrating and mourning.

    One of the activities that we commonly use in society (and there is no reason why we shouldn't adopt it in projects) is that of mourning. Mourning is often associated with one or several specific events: a funeral or a rememberance.

    The purpose of mourning as a change management activity is to bring together those with an emotional stake in the project; to provide them with an opportunity to share and reflect with other stakeholders and then to follow an action that signifies some kind of closure: could be the act of closing down old system; destroying or binning out-moded documents; renaming something; thanking or rewarding those who have contributed in the past.

    I'd welcome any good examples of rituals that you've come across that organizations have used to mourn and mark the end of something and your experience of what happened as a result of the ritual.

    02-08-2017 11:10 by Jonathan Norman

Health & Safety

  1. Friday's Insight: Managing Fatigue in Major Projects

    The scale of huge projects such as Crossrail, as well as the pressures of schedule and work,  makes fatigue an important element in managing safety and wellbeing. And the size of the project also provides us with a wonderful platform for research on the impact of shift patterns, the use of PPE and the role of training in causing and then mitigating the affects of fatigue.

    The Crossrail team developed a practical fatigue prevention toolkit as well as a series of benchmarks, which have the potential to transform how the construction industry addresses one of the most  significant factors in performance and safety over time.

    13-04-2018 06:59 by Jonathan Norman


  1. Innovation champions

    Large-scale infrastructure assets such as water facilities, airports, roads, railways are complex systems that require a large investment commitment, take many years to develop and build, involve multiple public and private stakeholders, and have long-lasting impact on the economy, the environment, and society (Flyvbjerg, Bruzelius, & Rothengatter 2003; Lundin & Söderholm, 1995; Söderlund, 2004). Innovation is increasingly recognized as an integral part of major British infrastructure megaprojects– from Heathrow Terminal 5, via the Olympic Park and Crossrail towards Thames Tideway Tunnel and HS2 High-Speed rail link. Megaproject history demonstrates the transformation from a fixed-price contracts, lowest-cost tendering and adversarial relationships to relationship-based procurement, collaboration, innovation and leadership, placing Britain in a unique position of global influence (Davies, Gann, & Douglas 2009; Davies & Mackenzie, 2014). Whilst megaprojects may possess some repetitive features and some degree of permanency, they are essentially unique, temporal endeavors, where stakeholders involved tend to change their positions regularly across megaprojects. Often programs are led by planners and program managers who change throughout the long program cycles, leaving leadership weak (Flyvbjerg, 2014). The innovation potential for megaprojects is subjected to a fundamental tension: on the one hand, they offer a one-off opportunity to invest in cutting-edge technologies and innovative systems; on the other hand, project stakeholders have limited time to develop competencies to absorb and adapt technologies and innovate through various activities (Gil, Miozzo, & Massini, 2012). The majority of megaprojects operate in a context of collaborative work meaning that they move away from coordinating via formal, more rigid organizational structures (e.g. rules, schedules, division of labour) towards an emphasis on inter-personal coordination and informal communication mechanisms. The formal innovation manager job role has been created; and informal innovation groups in megaprojects comprise the team of innovation champions and leaders (Sergeeva, 2016, 2017). Megaprojects tend to develop an innovation strategy which identify, develop and implement innovative ideas from every corner of organizations. The management of innovation in megaprojects is increasingly recognized as an important area for successful delivery and impact on the policy-making, economy and society. These questions are of interest and value to the project management field as they address the literary gaps in innovation leadership at program levels highlighted by Davies et al. (2009), Gil et al. (2012) and Winch (2014).

    Launched in October 2016, the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Platform (i3P) creates an opportunity for the industry embrace and push forward technological advances made through major programs. The group is formed by major clients, contractors and industry representative bodies including Construction Leadership Council and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association. This platfrom allows innovation champions to get together and apply innovations in different settings. 

    09-06-2017 15:46 by Natalya Sergeeva

  2. RE: Innovation champions

    Cool feature, thanks Natalya! Not sure 'formal' and Paul Morris Innovation Manager has ever been used in the same sentence!


    07-07-2017 10:54 by Paul Morris

  3. Future Proofing Major Projects

    How can organizations build their understanding of the emerging risks, capabilities and opportunities associated with projects that they may have not yet even conceived? Where is this knowledge located within the organization and how is it made accessible to all?

    06-08-2017 10:02 by Jonathan Norman

Land & Property

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Major Projects Knowledge Cafe

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Procurement, Law & Supply Chain Management

  1. Procurement opportunities assessment

    Dear All, I am not a procurement expert, but I am looking to create a template to identify new procurement saving initiatives. What should the assessment criteria be? How to evaluate the procurement initiatives?

    10-08-2017 12:34 by niruja balaskandan

Talent & Resources

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