Public versus private

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It is a debate that I have come across on a number of occasions during my time as Project magazine editor which are more successful, public or private sector projects?

Private sector projects are more customer focused, whereas in the public sector there is more emphasis on economy more bang for your buck.

Indeed the project decisions in the two sectors pull in different corners of the iron triangle, but it is more complex than that.

In my opinion, effective project management is key in either sector, it is often stakeholder perception that lies at the heart of this age-old public versus private debate.

Scrutiny is high in the public sector. If you arent getting value for money or, worse, go over budget, you are a failure. Similar challenges exist in the private sector, of course, but taxpayers dont mind as much if it isnt their money being spent.

This month, Project investigates two of the largest public sector transformation programmes ever undertaken. In the NHS, reforms have changed the way powers are distributed in the organisation and, north of the border, Scottish Parliament has amalgamated eight police forces into one to serve the nation.

Both programmes bare remarkable similarities in terms of execution and delivery, and serve as a reminder that any project in the public sector is never knowingly under governed.

The debate will rage on, in the competitive environment in which we practise that is inevitable. But, one hopes, as the profession continues to develop, the dividing line of success between the respective sectors will become increasingly difficult to define.


Posted by Andrew Hubbard on 13th May 2013

About the Author
Andrew is the editor of Project magazine. He began his career working as a freelance journalist. At the time his clients included Northcliffe and BSkyB. He became editor of Project at the end of June 2012.

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