Even as government continues to pump billions of Pula into projects across the country, a leading expert puts Botswana’s project management maturity level way below 50 percent.
Project management maturity models gauge the maturity of organisations in terms of their project management skills. In terms of a five-level model that Oabona Kgengwenyane, the Group Managing Director of Innolead Consulting, shared with a seminar at the Gaborone International Convention Centre last Thursday, Botswana is still stuck at the second level. The first level (“Ad hoc”) is one in which there are no formal project management processes across an entire organisation. In the second (“Consistent”), there is secure management support, establishment of common goals, consistent use of processes and project management training.
According to Kgengwenyane, Botswana’s poor performance in project management is explained by the country’s inability to elevate itself to the next three levels. In Level 3 ÔÇô which is called “Integrated”, business and project management processes are integrated, advanced techniques are developed and credible project management information systems. Level 4 (“Comprehensive”) entails defined goals for all functions, metric-based performance, participation of all, risk management culture and establishment of project management core competency. In Level 5 (“Optimising”) defects are prevented, there is continuous improvement as well as achievement of a higher success rate.
Kgengwenyane said that in terms of the analysis that Innolead Consulting has done using this model, most organisations in Botswana “struggle to get two out of five.” That would mean that such organisations only manage 20 percent. Giving examples and a diagnosis of what went wrong, he added that there is ample evidence that “we don’t manage our projects well.” According to that diagnosis, the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport project, which was delayed for five years, was “rushed” with tendering starting before the designs were complete and against a situation where there were non-existent or inactive project governance structures.
He attributed the failure of the livestock identification and traceback system (LITS) to poor project planning, lack of proper governance and poor stakeholder management. As disastrous was BPC Lesedi (Pty) Ltd which was formed in 2008 to roll out a renewable energy-based rural electrification project. The company spent about P20 million to cover a few villages and settlements. Kgengwenyane’s diagnosis is that this project failed because the business model was inappropriate and managed time poorly.
Regarding Morupule B Power, Kgengwenyane cited lack of proper governance as well as poor workmanship and risk management as the main problems. He attributed the failure of the Francistown Airport project to “scope creep” (frequent changes and additional work suggested by the stakeholder), over budget and poor project controls.