Project characteristic of FIFA World Cup

Every four years, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) kicks off its legendary tournament-“FIFA World Cup”. This sporting event brings 32 football teams and millions of people around the world to compete and celebrate this great event together on a host country. To be a memorable host of this stimulating program, assigned country has to prepare a wide range of facilities including construction of football stadium. In 2010, those tasks were organised by Africans who were responsible as a host of World Cup 2010. (game plan….)

According to “South Africa’s successful application for hosting the World Cup” (South African stadium project), fund was consequently spent into the construction of new stadiums and upgrading the existed stadiums, amounting to R12 billion ($1.48 billion) (the economist….). Because of being the first African country authorised to arrange the World Cup tournament, they attempted to make over its image to people around the world. As the result, infrastructure development program was launched by South Africa’s government and this program was contained several projects including to build five new football stadium and renovate five existed arenas.

One of the five new World Cup stadiums located in Durban, the 2nd largest city in South African, is Moses Manbhida stadium. As the part of 2010 World Cup program, the Municipality of Durban embarked the project constructing “Moses Mabhida” stadium in 2005 and completed on time in 2009. In the view of government and engineers, this project was given credit as a significant achievement of Durban city demonstrating African’s capabilities. However, some stakeholders argued that this project delivered seriously failure. As the result of such disagreement, this essay will critically discuss why could Mosses Mabhida stadium be defined as “project” and then evaluate this project success or failure. Lastly, possible recommendations to improve its outcome will be provided.

To begin with assessment whether Moses Manbhida stadium has proper characters being “a project”, it is important to give the definition of project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), project might be defined as “a temporary endeavour undertaken to create unique product or service”. Similarly, the British Standard Institute gives explanation that “a unique set of co-ordinated activities, with definite starting and finishing points, undertaken by an individual or organisation to meet specific objectives with defined schedule, cost and performance parameters” (as cited in Smith, 2008, p 2). As the result, it might conclude that the crucial characteristics of project are having limited working period and resources, being unique, having particular goals and integrating many functions.

As above definitions, Moses Manbhida stadium could be defined as construction project. This is mainly because it is uniqueness and having specific objective that was being “the-art landmark sports facility with excellent amenities, and a sustainable recreational and multi-disciplinary sporting venue” (“Mosesmabhidastadium” n.d., 2011) as well as being a part of the first world football tournament in Africa continent. In term of uniqueness, this construction has been awarded as a winner in design competition from many organisations because of its “iconic design creating unmistakeable silhouette on the Durban skyline”(“” n.d., 2010). According to its concept inspiring by the South African flag in order to represent the unity of different nations, this could be accomplished by building the 350 metres long and 105 metres high span arch holding the roof of the stadium and the top of this arch is above the pitch by 106m (civilprojectonline). This construction contributes the high level of novelty on engineering and designing that had never constructed before in South Africa. It, consequently, is admired as landmark of Durban city being comparable with Eifel Tower in France and London Eye in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, this project was limited by time, which must complete before the tournament beginning, and fund allocated by FIFA. In order to examine its characteristics intensely to ensure being a project, the further evidences could be summarised in table 1.

Table 1: Evidence confirming Moses Manbhida stadium is project.

According to the project fundamental by Maylor (2010), Moses Manbhida stadium could be demonstrated as “project” as follows;

Project Characteristic

Moses Manbhida Stadium

Defining start -complete date and limiting resources

Moses Manbhida stadium was clearly set to start and finish in March 2006 and November 2009, respectively. In addition, limited financial resource also allocated by FIFA and South Africa government. This, therefore, could illustrate that this activity was not finite and have exact working schedule.

Being Unique

Moses Manbhida stadium could be valued as unique construction in South Africa because of its outstanding design and complexity of engineering. This might be described by the major arch structure which is high around 106 metres above the ground using as route deliver visitors to the top of stadium experiencing with spectacular panorama view of city and Indian ocean which had not performed before in South Africa. (

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Having specific mission

The particular aim for this construction was to build a multipurpose stadium hosting a wide range of sporting events such as FIFA World Cup and cultural activities in order to broaden opportunity being one of preferred destination for leisure.

Integrating different activities

Due to its complicated design and engineering, this work required incorporation among the Durban government (as client), consultants (as engineer), contractors and suppliers. It was believed that the achievement of this project mainly came from collaboration from African and German consultants, and almost 60 contractors.

Moreover, this also demonstrated a good management and communication between different team. For example, there was a good coordination between African and German designer who were responsible for foundations and major arch, respectively to ensure that the progress would be completed as expectation.

Risk and Uncertainty

According to taking long period to construct, this work had problem about rising in material purchase price due to high inflation causing the project cost was over than budget. This problem was one of uncertainty challenging project manager to resolve.

Changing organisation or people being delivered to

This creativity differently benefits people in Durban comparing with other stadiums; for instance, it is the first sport city complex facilitating people to spend their free time through many kinds of activity such as attending sporting event together with shopping with their family while other places, people can spend their time only for sporting program.

By Harrison (1992), the way to describe list of activities that have to be performed for each project might be named as “work breakdown structure (WBS)”. This method may assist to divide a large work into sub-functions that could be assigned to one person or department being responsible for and then categorise such sub-units into a group of main activities for project. Resulting from well defining WBS, it generates reliable budget and clear tasks including effective resource allocation to accomplish the project smoothly. According to the type of WBS, it could prepare WBS by grouping based on activities, functions or feature such as hardware or software (Maylor, 2005). For Moses Monbhida stadium project, its WBS could be broken down based on activities, as detail in figure 1, since this kind of WBS would help to gain more understandable about the construction process of the project.

Figure 1: Work breakdown structure (WBS) of Moses Manbhida Stadium

Though WBS has valuable advantages, it does not put each activity in order based on occurring time (xxx). As the result, WBS might not clarify enough for activity sequence and does not identify critical path of the project as well. This weakness could be solved by”Gantt chart”. Gantt chart could be defined as a tool linking between time and activities to explain process in sequence of time and determining critical path. This chart is recognised as the simple way to prepare and understand guiding the project overview (Maylor, 2005). In order to gain more understandable about relationship between tasks and time including time consuming for each activity, the progress of Moses Manbhida stadium can be illustrated by using Gantt chart as detail in figure 2.

Figure 2: The Moses Manbhida Stadium project Gantt chart

Resulting from having appropriate features being a project, the next section then discuss whether this project success or failure. According to the British Standard for project management (1996), the achievement of project is evaluated by committing its constraints which are time, cost and quality (TCQ) known as “the Iron Triangle” theory. This view was supported by Oisen (1950) confirming that the Iron Triangle is played as significant role to measure project success and this traditional measurement is being used continually today ( as cited in Atkinson, 1999). According to Maylor (2005), the Iron Triangle might be defined as the way prioritising time, cost and quality in order to set as desired objective to achieve. This trade-off among three elements will be varied according to particular requirement from stakeholders.

TimeFigure 3: The Iron Triangle



To discuss about achievement of Moses Manbhida stadium project, it could be analysed separately into three elements. The first part is time that generally measures by considering that project could be completed within allocated time (Albert, 2002). This project seems to accomplish according to its schedule, on November 2009. This could value as crucial success for the management team because during the construction process, this project had faced with strike by its employee for more than two weeks. Furthermore, this project was interrupted by weather and wind condition causing some working days would be inevitably erased from timetable but this issue did not affected importantly to delay. Even this problems are not unique situation to this project and can happen to other project, it represented a good cooperation in management team, finding the proper solution to turn the normal operation to be performed as soon as possible and finally the team could deliver this project to client on time. This was one of a good example contributing from this project to illustrate the responsibilities that should be performed by project management to solve the immediate problems and compromise and the conflict between two parties facilitating project continued smoothly (Maylor, 2005).

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However, this project did not achieve obviously in term of cost as its budget was forecasted at R1.6billion but eventually actual spending climbed to be R3.1billion, accounting mostly 93% increasing (www.TheTime, 2010). One of the reasons for over budget was solving the strike problem by increasing their staff wages and bonus over as requesting by the protesters. The next main reason was significant rise in material price purchase during that time. Many specialists might believe that the construction project always pressures by situation being over budget. However, it could be argued that the team should mitigate this problem by considering the risk management process during the planning phase to identify and reduce possible problem. This was supported by Holt (2004) that risk management is typically defined as control process focusing to reduce uncertainty operation and prevent over budget problem.

In term of quality of product, Hatush (1997) stated that “quality might be measured by technical specification, function, and appearance…required by product or service to satisfy a given need (as cited in Albert, 2002, p125). As a result, it could assess that this project conformed to its required function and appearance containing almost 80,000 available seats with excellent facilities to support the se-mi round of the tournament and being remarkable landmark of the city.

According to trade-off concept, this project might be balanced to focus on time and quality achievement to support the World Cup tournament and as providing in previous paragraphs, it could conclude that this project succeeded imperfectly according to over budgeting.

Although delivering by the right time, quality and price is traditional assessment for project success (Albert, 2002), it could be argued by Maylor (2005) that the Iron triangle might not be completed for measurement since TCQ concept tends to gauge during the construction process, whereas there are diversified requirements from stakeholders beyond the delivery stage. Similar with Atkinson (1999), it could agree that the Iron Triangle is not appropriate enough to judge for success. This is because such measurement lack to consider the benefit to organisation and stakeholders contributing by project during the post deliver phase. A good illustration from Moses Manbhida stadium project is that this project might be measured being success at delivery stage in term of quality and time but this project has been criticised that it could not satisfy users and generate profit to the organisation as expectation. As the result, many researchers have introduced new success criteria to mitigate such weakness from TCQ. For example, Atkinson (1999) suggested to measure by the Square-Rout method integrating the Iron Triangle with post-delivery stage criteria.

One of the success criteria, that developed by Shenhar et al (2001), is a multidimensional framework, focusing to measure project in different periods and perspectives of people related with the project. This method separates criteria into four main dimensions distinguishing requirements according to different stakeholders in different stages, as detail in table 2. In order to improve effectiveness on the measurement of Moses Manbhida stdium project, four-success dimension will be discussed as follows;

Table 2: Four Success Dimensions

Success Dimension


Time to measure

Project efficiency

-Meeting schedule goal

-Meeting budget goal

During a project’s execution and immediately after its completion

Impact on the customer

-Meeting functional performance

-Meeting technical specification

-Fulfilling customer needs

-Solving a customer’s problem

-The customer is using the product

-Customer satisfaction

Short-time after delivery

Business Success

-Commercial success

-Creating a large market share

1-2 years after completion

Preparing for the future

-Creating a new market

-Creating a new product line

-Developing a new technology

2-5 years after completion or longer


First dimension: Project efficiency

As stated by Shenhar et al (2001), this dimension is established to measure whether project meet with its constraints which, for instance, are time and budget during the execution. However, it is worth to recall that the success from this part might not guarantee to achieve for long-term objective and be valuable to the organisation as expectation.

By the first dimension, it could analyse that the stadium may achieve in term of time but it fails according to cost controlling as explained in previous paragraph. The further investigation could be performed examining the main reason of over budgeting and might realise that it mainly came from inefficiency during planning phase that the team did not consider the risk of price fluctuation on material. Consequently, there was no plan to mitigate this problem causing the cost of project double increase inevitably (African business, 2010).

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Second dimension: Impact on the customer

This dimension focuses on whether expectations including technical specifications and functional requirements from customer could be achieved by project. In the view of Shenhar et a (2001), this factor directly relates with customer’s satisfaction. It is therefore one of the most important parts measuring the achievement. According to assessing this project, it could be noticed that although there was no complaint relating with technical problem during the World Cup tournament, this project could not be valued as successful project meeting required performance. This is because this stadium initially expected to use as the new sport complex arranging the national sporting events, especially rugby and cricket which are the most favourite sports among African people, but its configuration could not meet with user’s requirements. This stadium was constructed being a football stadium without considering specification required by rugby and cricket team who mainly represented as long-term users to generate income to the project. As stated by Brain, rugby representative, he criticised that “this project could be valued as useless project and waste money donating by Durban people severely” (as cited in timeonline). As the result, this could be significant evidence to confirm that this project failed in term of meeting objective.

Third dimension: Business success

This dimension tends to assess positive impact on the organisation as the resulting of project implementation. The benefits to the organisation contributing by project might be defined as, for example, increase income and market share or improvement on product quality. In this case, it could be measured that this project obviously failed to generate income to the organisation as expectation. This failure is a consequence of inconsistency with user’s requirements, causing the municipality, representing as an organisation, could not generate income covering the maintenance cost. As the result, the organisation has suffered from negative performance.

Fourth dimension: Preparing for the future

This part might be defined as the longest-term to measure how the organisation prepares themselves to response the future opportunities. According to the main objective of Moses Mabhida stadium, it was planed creating new chance for Durban being leisure destination for local people and tourists. However, it could be argued that this expectation might be difficult to accomplish. The main reason is the failure from the second and third dimensions from this measurement causing the organisation could not finance in order to extend the capability being a sport complex with world-classed facilities as expectation or even maintain being the spectacular stadium. These problems might be the crucial barrier for creating innovations to compete with rivals around the world being the remarkable stadium.

From the analysis, it could be seen that the Moses Mabhida stadium project delivered inefficient performance, low customer satisfaction, not success in term of generating benefit to the organisation and lack of preparation for the future. It, therefore, might be concluded that this project was a failure according to the four-success dimension theory.

Apart from analysis of project success, the notable aspects affecting to the project outcome in negative way will be discussed in this section. There are some factors contributing negative impact on the project performance as follows.

One of factor was lack of considering requirements from customers and involvement of main users to make decision about project specifications. In the view of Maylor (2003), it is important for the project team to understand and integrate the different requirements from stakeholders and implement their work by focusing on customer delight, whereas, the Moses Mabhida team did not mainly perform to meet with their main users. This could be supported by Hoskins, president of Rugby Union, confirming that there was no discussion between the project team and main customers such as rugby and cricket team (nationalsport, 2010). As the result, such practice contributed unfavourable outcome causing the project suffered as failure project.

Moreover, another factor that should be discussed is inefficiency of supply chain management resulting the project run over its budget. The issue that should be highlighted is contract with suppliers. It might assume that the management agreed to be quoted by cost-plus contract from contractors. According to floating price contract, the organisation might be more risky because contractors could transfer their uncertainty about material and labour cost to be responsible by the project. As the result, the project might be charged by unreasonable time and cost, causing to fail in term of cost controlling (Maylor, 2003).

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