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Capital Projects: What Every Executive Needs to Know to Avoid Costly Mistakes and Make Major Investments Pay Off

A Real-World Framework for Driving Capital Project Success

Executives often start out with high hopes for their capital projects, only to have them fall short of expectations. Only 60 percent of projects actually meet all their objectives after they are completed and the asset is put into service. The success rate is not much better than a coin-flip.

Executives responsible for delivering capital projects do not have to accept these results. Success or failure is not random. Although most of the work to develop and deliver a project is done by others, executives must provide the leadership, guidance, and support necessary to produce a successful business result from the project. Capital Projects explains the essential concepts executives need to know to increase the probability of a successful project and, critically, reduce the chances of disaster projects—ones that lose all the capital investment and get executives fired.

The information in Capital Projects is derived from the histories of over 20,000 capital projects ranging from $50,000 to $40 billion contained in the detailed, carefully normalized database at preeminent project consultancy Independent Project Analysis, Inc. This book presents a framework that is applicable to all types of capital investment projects, large and small, in any sector of commerce, including technology, life sciences, petroleum, consumer products, and more.

Although grounded in empirical research and rigorous data analysis, this book is not an academic discussion or a conceptual dissertation; it’s a practical, actionable, on-the-ground guide to making capital projects succeed.

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About the author

Paul Barshop

Global Director, Sustainability

Learn more about Paul Barshop