Project Leadership and Team Building World Cup held in South Africa

Executive Summary

This paper analyses the project of the Soccer World Cup held in South Africa in 2010 on behalf of FIFA. An introduction to the project at hand is laid out to explain the situation in which the project took place. A critical evaluation of the project is made, determining the facets that the Government and organising committee had to effectively deal with, what type of leadership styles were implemented, how team building progressed, the project life cycle and the external factors influencing this project.

Improvements are recommended for some aspects of this project that could have made the Soccer World Cup more successful than what it was deemed to have been. Some of these recommendations include; better team building, more effective planning, budgetary concerns and public relation issues.

The World Cup Opening Ceremony was a major success, followed by the first goal of the World Cup in the first game between South Africa and Mexico. When Siphiwe Tshabalala, of South Africa, scored the first goal, South Africans deemed the project a success.

Introduction to Case Study

FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) has taken it upon themselves to be the guardian of the game all over the world, in every shape or form. According to FIFA World Cupâ„¢ (2010), their mission statement is, ‘Develop the game, touch the world, build a better future’. They do not merely focus on playing the game but rather they have to focus on every aspect that may affect the game and all that the game stands for. Rules, laws, players, developing the game and using this sport to bring hope to people all over the world, especially those less privileged than others. FIFA World Cupâ„¢(2010) states that the World Cup started in 1930 in Uruguay and this inaugural World Cup was won by the host team. There have only been two times since the inauguration that the World Cup was not hosted and that was during World War II.

South Africa recently hosted the FIFA Soccer World Cup. This is the project that will be used as a case study as I am a South African citizen and am currently residing in the country. Information that has been referred to on this project has been experienced firsthand. This was the first time that the FIFA World Cup that was hosted by an African Country. The Soccer World Cup was hosted in South Africa from June 11th 2010 to July 11th 2010. 32 teams participated in the World Cup with the final game being played between Spain and Netherlands. Spain reigned victorious.

It was a major project for South Africa, as although the country had previously hosted the cricket and rugby World Cups, it was the first time that this type of World Cup was hosted in the country and the event was made up of many projects. Many project defining aspects needed to be started from scratch. The project management was run by the Government who recruited a number of different resources, companies, personnel and task teams with the hope of making the project a success. Most importantly they assigned the role of project coordinator to Danny Jordaan. The areas that needed to be addressed included, amongst others, stadium construction and improvements, airport construction and refurbishment, infrastructure and logistics, transportation, accommodation, policing and justice, immigration, finance and health. Each of these projects needed to be successful in order for the event to be a success. This project consisted not only of these internal projects but was also influenced by external factors such as the country’s image to the world, opinions of South Africa by other countries and contractual agreements with FIFA. Therefore media and marketing were also part of the project.

The success or failure of the project would impact on the economy and general well-being of the country for many years to come even after the event had taken place. The project management team needed to ensure that the projects that were undertaken would have a positive outcome on the country’s operations even after the event had taken place and concluded.

Transportation and the creation of jobs could be highlighted as the most crucial aspects of the World Cup. These components are highlighted as crucial as their impact would be felt most notably once the event concluded on July 11th 2010. The construction of the stadiums was crucial as although many rugby and cricket stadiums already existed in South Africa a lack of soccer stadiums was obvious.

Transportation also needed to be improved as although the government felt that roads were acceptable pre-World Cup with the influx of people from all over the world, roads and transportation systems needed to be improved. Highways were expanded and refurbished, additional buses were bought and coincidentally the construction of another transportation project, the Gau-train, would be fast-tracked to be used for the World Cup.

The benefit that South Africa did have was that the country was also selected to host the Confederations Soccer Cup during June 2009. The country was able to use this event as a type of a trial run for the World Cup. The rapid bus transfer system was tested in Pretoria and errors or faults that occurred were able to be rectified before the World Cup the following year.

The project’s success will be analysed in order to determine the factors of project management that were used, the elements of team building that are available and how the leadership aspects, styles or type of management could be changed to make improvements to the project.

Critical Evaluation

According to Kerzner (2009) project management and in turn project success can be defined as completing a project within the allocated time frame, within budget, meeting a specified performance level, with as few changes to the scope as possible. Project management and team building go hand in hand when dealing with any type or any form of a project. This is because almost all projects, even when operating in a virtual environment, have people involved. When dealing with a project such as the Soccer World Cup, a third aspect fits into project management and team building just as critically. This aspect is public relations. According to the Independent institute of education (2010) although public relations can be seen as its own concept away from project management, the people involved in the project need to be aware of the standings with regards to public relations. With the World Cup being such a worldwide event, with sold out stadiums and an estimation of over a billion people watching, what the media says, or what the world thinks will be of critical importance to determine whether the project was gauged as a successful or failure.

The main problems or areas of improvement that the South African World Cup organizers had to deal with were construction, ticket sales, transportation and crime.

According to Cooke & Tate (2005) project management can be defined as a culmination of knowledge, skills, expertise, systems and programs that ensure that the work that is being done, by a team of people, is in fact working towards accomplishing the strategic goals of the organization or fulfilling the aims of the project to which they have been assigned.

Project management will need to bring together different areas of an organization, or that of a number of different organizations such as finance, administration, human resources, marketing or operations to work in unison to achieve the aims or goals. Project management has been developed so that a single department or person working on a project has control and visibility over all the other departments to ensure that the project runs smoothly, for the Soccer World Cup 2010 that person was Danny Jordaan. The project manager will oversee all departments and actions to try and produce a successful outcome.

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Project management is made up of many sections and sub headings that need to be considered. The following subjects need to be addressed when developing a project and have been summarized from Shtub & Globerson , 2005.

Communication guidelines and the hierarchy of leadership need to be established. Lifecycle planning needs to take place to ascertain which model would be best suited to your project. Implementation and monitoring is the next area that needs to be addressed. When and how the project will be implemented and how this will be monitored to establish control. Then cost estimates and budgeting need to be developed and contingencies need to be established as to where the cost can exceed budgeted amounts and where cut backs could be implemented if needed. Variance is an aspect that all projects need to be aware of as nothing in life is certain, external environments are constantly changing and a project needs to know where it can change and where there is no room to adjust. The project needs to have prepared for any expected changes that may affect their plans or any unexpected changes that could drastically impact the outcome of the project. An important and final aspect that many projects often forget to include is the closeout. In the case of the soccer World Cup in South Africa, the closeout will happen in varied stages but need to be included in the planning. The initial closeout occurs when FIFA approves the set out requirements, other close outs occur at the closing ceremony, and then when projects that were included in the World Cup preparations are complete, this may be months or even years after the final whistle had blown on the final game.

All projects have a project life cycle and they can vary in length. A project lifecycle is typically made up of the following 5 stages, (Gray and Larson, 2006);

Project Management can be divided into five parts:

1. “Project charter development

2. Request for Proposal Development and Process

3. Planning & Design Project team creations, Project kick-off Planning (Work Breakdown Schedule), Budget

4. Implementation/monitoring/control

5. Project termination, hand-off to operations management.”

In the case of the soccer World Cup the project life cycle would have been spread out over a number of years, even before the World Cup was awarded to South Africa. The government had to tender a proposal to FIFA against other competing countries to be allowed to host the World Cup. Therefore the project life cycle would have started pre-2004. As different projects were started and came to an end, each would have had their own life cycle as well. Each project had to go through a tender process as well. An example of a tender used for Green Point stadium has been attached in Appendix A.

Different projects will also take on different life-cycle formations or models. The most commonly accepted of these models are the waterfall project lifecycle model, the agile project lifecycle model, the iterative model and the spiral project life cycle model. Each model has different strengths and weaknesses and therefore some models are better suited to different working environments.

Each sub-project, underneath the main World Cup South Africa project, would have made use of different life-cycles.

The World Cup would have to have implemented the Spiral project lifecycle model as Mall (2009) explains; this model combines elements of design and prototyping-in-stages, in an effort to combine advantages of top down and bottom up concepts. This model can also be referred to as the spiral development model; it is a systems development method. This model of development combines the features of the prototyping model and the waterfall model .The spiral model is intended for large, expensive and complicated projects. The World Cup was expensive, intricate, and took place all over South Africa. The stages of the project also overlapped and did not have to wait for the completion of one project to start the next. For example the building of the airports and stadiums were not contingent on the completion of the roads or other transport projects.

The project was awarded to South Africa on the 15th of May 2004 and the start of the project began soon after however some parts of the project are still busy being completed, even after the World Cup. Although the highways and roads were open to be used at full capacity during the World Cup, the construction of these roads and highways are still taking place today.

In comparison to standard projects that organizations will take on, and the case study at hand, the soccer World Cup in South Africa, certain aspects of normal operations will differ quite substantially from this type of project. The teams that worked on the World Cup in South Africa were not working in a normal business environment. Their end product was not intending to gain a competitive advantage over other competitors in the same market. The products they were producing were not to be resold yet a profit needed to be made. The product could not become obsolete, however there was a deadline date, that of the opening ceremony. The deadline date however was not that of the opening ceremony because South Africa was dealing with FIFA, FIFA required that all stadiums or any structures or projects relating to the World Cup were completed a number of months in advance. As South Africa was in control of hosting the World Cup, they were also responsible of reporting to FIFA to ensure that the FIFA World Cup was a success. Stephen Blatter, the president of FIFA, was heavily involved in the operations taking place in South Africa and Danny Jordaan was the project coordinator for the Soccer World Cup.

With regards to leadership styles, two main types of leadership styles generally exist, autocratic or exclusive and democratic or inclusive. A democratic leader takes other individuals opinions and ideas into consideration before making the final decision. Danny Jordaan’s style of management can be seen to be democratic. His involvement with the World Cup showed that he had South Africa’s best interests at heart. He took into consideration other leaders opinions and advice and worked in close unison with Thabo Mbeki and Nelson Mandela when securing the tender bid to host the World Cup. Reports needed to be presented on weekly and monthly basis and he was the spokesman for interaction with the media in relation to World Cup activities. FIFA however are deemed to be autocratic. FIFA can be seen to be a franchise. Every four years a different country is elected to host the World Cup. FIFA has certain contractual requirements that each country needs to meet in order to be granted the privilege of hosting such a prestigious event. Although South Africa could decide what the stadiums would like and how the upgrades would take place, FIFA required a certain number of stadiums to be erected or improved, for certain activities to take place and other similar requirements.

The project management team needed to be compiled of a number of individuals with different areas of expertise. Although the project had a start and end date (11th June and 11th July), a budget and a scope as most projects do, the areas that this project needed to delve into were vast.

The South African government had tendered to organise the World Cup. In order to successfully accomplish this, a number of facets needed to be improved, developed or started from scratch. These areas include, (Media Report, 2010), amongst others;

Infrastructure – stadiums needed to be built and renovated.

Health – Although no pandemics were forecast, they needed to be prepared.

Transportation – the highways needed to be improved, as well as public transport.

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Finance- a developing country would need to analyze budgets with high scrutiny.

Technology- new fibre optic cables for televising the games worldwide.

Electricity- Eskom had guaranteed power for all games, through the use of generators.

Safety and Security – Xenophobic attacks sent shocks throughout the world, this needed to be stepped up.

Immigration- a new type of visa was created to allow access to more foreigners. Hooligans were banned.

Accommodation – availability and standards were a worry.

Media and marketing- people needed to feel safe coming to South Africa.

The South African Government identified the dramatic changes to transport logistics in South Africa as the legacy that would remain for years to come. The issues identified above are just a few examples of the projects that the overall project manager or project coordinator, Danny Jordaan, would need to have expertise on, and it would seem highly unlikely that one person would have this type of knowledge; however general management could appoint a number of sub-project managers to oversee each department and report back to one project manager. Danny Jordaan might not have had the expertise in each sub-section of the project however he was able to employ other team members to take control of those areas.

Information taken from the Background Information on Government Preparations for the 2010 FIFA WORLD CUPâ„¢ (2010) shows a breakdown of each element that the government was dealing with. The government had weekly and monthly report sessions for each area of development.

In order for a project to be successful the team that works on the project needs to be selected in a certain manner. Dr. Meredith Belbin defined a team role as: “A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.” He spent a number of years working on the theory about teams.

Dr. Meredith Belbin has written a number of books and one of his fundamental theories is based on team roles. The roles that individuals will fill when placed in a certain situation when trying to achieve a certain goal. Individuals have different personalities and different strengths and weaknesses. Belbin initially believed that the success or failure of a project would rely on the intellectual levels of the team members. According to Belbin associates, (2010), he ran a simulation test at a university for over ten years to determine the grounds of his theory. The theory is that a teams’ success or failure is not reliant on intellect but rather on the balance of roles that each individual will assume when in a certain environment. This team roles can be divided into three sub-sections and then into 9 individual team roles. The three main sections are Action-oriented, People oriented and Thought oriented. Action-Oriented roles include “Shaper, Implementer and Complete-Finishers.” People Oriented Roles include “Coordinator, Team Worker and Resource Investigator”. Thought oriented roles include “Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist.”

Advantages and disadvantages that make up each team role need to be discussed and understood in order to create the most effective team for the project at work.

According to Belbin Associates (2010) and Belbin himself, (1993) the different roles have different pro’s and con’s. The shapers advantages include the drive to challenge team members to improve, they are dynamic people, who are extroverted and who stimulate others. They also avoid complacency by introducing new attributes. Negative characteristics include that they are argumentative and are not sensitive to other people’s feelings. The implementer is characterized by people that get things done, those who take ideas and turn them into actions. They are conservative, disciplined and work systematically. The disadvantages however are that they show inflexibility and resist any kind of change. Complete finishers have the advantageous characteristics that ensure that a project is completed with all the small details completed. They are focused on deadlines and can be seen as perfectionists. These characteristics lend themselves to worry unnecessarily and these individuals find it difficult to delegate tasks to others for the fear of losing control of the task at hand.

Belbin also identifies advantages and disadvantages for the other roles too. The coordinator leads the team to achieve the goals and objectives that they perceive as realistic. They are excellent listeners, calm, good natured and are able to delegate tasks, however sometimes the coordinator delegates away too much authority and may be seen to be manipulative. The team workers provide support to the team and ensure that all the team workers are able to work together effectively. They are able to be flexible, diplomatic and perceptive. Their disadvantages have been identified as having tendency to be indecisive and do not commit to any major decisions. The resource investigators are innovative and curious. They explore other options available to them and handle negotiations. These team members may however be overly optimistic and lose their enthusiasm for the team and their own roles rather quickly. The final three roles also each have advantages and disadvantages. The plant role is creative, flourishes on praise and invents new ideas or advances. The disadvantages however are that this team member finds criticism very hard to handle or accept, they are introverted and prefer to work alone. Their communication skills are poor and often ignore restrictions or restraints that they are given. The monitor evaluators’ strengths include that they are ideal at analysing and evaluating other team member’s ideas, they are successfully able to weigh up pros and cons of different possible investments, and are critical thinkers. Their drawbacks are that they can be detached and unemotional; they are poor motivators for their team members and wait to react to events rather than instigate them. Finally the ninth role, the specialist, that was added on later by Belbin include advantages of that they pride themselves on their skills and abilities, they are focused on their professional status and are an expert in a certain area of knowledge. Their disadvantages include that they may limit their contribution purely to what they consider themselves to be expert in and may lead the team to become pre-occupied with technicalities and small detail rather than the overall plan.

In relation to the World Cup information on which techniques were used for team building are not readily available, however it has been assumed that Belbin’s theory was used when selecting the teams that were brought together for this project. Each team involved with the project would need a careful balance of the team members in order to be successful. A key element of team building is the stages of team development as developed by Tuckman (1977); Forming, Norming, Storming, Performing and finally Adjourning. Each individual team that is part of the World Cup development project needed time to adjust to each stage to team development. It is clear that the construction teams on site had not properly adjusted to team development as they coordinators of these projects had to deal with strikes and unrest at many of the stadiums.

The projects where the majority of teams were based, transport and infrastructure is what the world watched most with regards to development projects, it is here where “nation branding” took place. The way in which South Africa wanted to portray itself was largely reliant on what was reported in the media and in the news. Strikes, delays and xenophobic attacks were in the news for a large majority of the time leading up to the world cup. Due to this the branding of the country was portrayed in negative lighting for a lot of the time that should in fact have been used for positive and encouraging reporting. The influx of foreign tourists to South Africa missed the original goal by a large number. Due to many of these factors the income to the country was much less than the expenditure and much less than what was expected. According to an article in the Telegraph, South Africa made a return of just £323m on the £3bn it spent.

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In conclusion to the critical reflection; the sustainability that FIFA brought to South Africa for the World Cup was not incorporated into the countries national strategy and therefore many of the strides that the country made during the World Cup were quickly eliminated when the final whistle was blown.


The specific details of the areas of which project management, project leadership or team building activities used during the World Cup were not readily accessible. Therefore the overall outcomes of the world cup and which practices should have been more heavily included can be deduced. Although information about the World Cup as a whole was available the smaller projects techniques and tools were not made available to the public.

In critical review of the World Cup one of the most unsuccessful areas of the project was the budget or cost aspect of the iron triangle. To illustrate the point, (Pedroncelli, 2010), Soccer City Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the World Cup was completed at R1 billion over budget. Strikes at other stadiums such as Green Point, forced organisers to bring in negotiators for increases in salaries, and the lost time then forced the Government to enforce additional shifts at higher costs to finish on time as the completion deadlines were non-negotiable. Imports of construction materials ran over budget as the rand lost strength to other currencies and prices escalated higher than what the budget had predicted. Therefore although the scope and time were met, the cost was extraordinarily higher than predicted.

This could be due to two reasons, either the budget was not well planned out and the estimates and actual costs were not realistic and not well researched or revised, or the variance of aspects discovered in the project was vast. It seems that the variance was the reason to blame for some of the over spending on the project. Poor planning could be blamed for this. Elements such as strikes or increases in costs of materials could have been realised beforehand and more concisely included in the budgetary stage of planning. A recommendation for future projects is to research and predict more accurately about future fluctuations, or to buy materials in bulk at a known price so that variances do not occur at a later stage.

A number of projects were not completed on time which can be viewed as contrasting as other projects managed to finish ahead of schedule. A recommendation for future projects of this nature is to learn from other projects which developed similar end products and were produced under similar circumstances. Green Point Stadium organizers could look at the development techniques used by the project co-ordinators of the Soccer City Stadium. Work breakdown schedules and organisational breakdown schedules should have been more precise and shared amongst projects with similar outlines. Managers in control of stadiums or projects that ran over budget or over time should take note of the way in which projects were executed which ended on time, on budget and had no scope creep. It is clear that as the sub-projects of the World Cup were each significant in their own right therefore each project was governed by different managers or by different planning committees. Some stadiums were handed over to FIFA ahead of schedule and other projects such as the construction and refurbishment of highways are still being completed after the event has ended.

It is a recommendation that the tenders for the construction or refurbishments should have been sent out earlier. The tender, as attached in Appendix A, shows that although a very thorough and positive process was followed, it was only started in 2006, 2 years after the World Cup project was given to South Africa. If more time had been given to the constructors and those parties, the costs involved may have escalated less. The teams may have had more time to form

The leadership style of FIFA cannot be changed. They are a corporate body that acts as a franchise in relation to the World Cup. They have a formula that works and they expect participating nations to follow this plan. This autocratic style is suitable to the environment in which FIFA operates. Danny Jordaan’s leadership style and approach to the World Cup was successful. Nelson Mandela said, when South Africa was awarded the privilege of hosting the World Cup that, “South Africans should treat this decision with humility and without arrogance because we are, after all, equal.” Danny Jordaan focused on bringing South Africans together. From the construction workers on the roads and in the stadiums to fans to corporate CEO’s funding different projects, all parties felt part of the World Cup, because the country felt proud to host the World Cup as one nation not separate races.

The final recommendations that would be made however include;

Better planning for variance conditions. These conditions include: working environments and severance, stability of the Rand against currencies or then bulk buying.

Earlier tender dates for highway construction.

Improved communication with the media for a positive reflection of the host nation.

Incorporating FIFA changes into the national strategy in order to retain the positives.

Increased time for team development on different projects. If projects were tendered and started earlier, strikes and delays may have been less severe.

Ensuring the project coordinator is democratic or inclusive when dealing with a force as strong as FIFA in its autocratic behaviour or tendencies.


In conclusion the Soccer World Cup hosted by South Africa, on behalf of FIFA, in 2010 was a successful project. As indicated in the recommendations a number of improvements could be put forth that could have eliminated some of the problems that the Government and other parties experienced.

A focus on public relations should have been highlighted. The xenophobic attacks prior to the World Cup should have been better handled by the Government to reduce the negative image that is portrayed of the country.

Communications between the sub-projects could have been better established so that problems experienced on one site could be avoided on another.

The leadership styles executed by the parties involved were well executed and appropriate. FIFA is a corporate organization that operates as a franchise when dealing with the World Cup. Their style therefore needs to be autocratic. They need the country which is hosting the World Cup to fulfill certain goals and expectations. Danny Jordaan, the project coordinator, executed a democratic or inclusive style of management which worked well in the environment in which he was operating. He was able to successfully execute the project, although over budget, by incorporating all South Africans into the buildup of the World Cup.

Budgetary problems experienced by the organizing committee could have been overcome through better planning and better time management. Tenders and start dates of the projects could have been brought forward to an early date, relieving the tensions of deadlines and fluctuating prices. If the start dates had also been brought forward it may have allowed teams more time to go through the development stages of forming, norming, storming and performing. The construction of the highways may also have been completed to a better schedule.

To summarise one moment of the World Cup that truly showed the success of such a tournament being hosted in Africa for the first time was when South Africa’s striker, Siphiwe Tshabalala, scored the first goal of the tournament. The country celebrated as one, and brought the African spirit alive.

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