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03/08/2024 | Porträts und Geschichten

What drives me - Vincent Lächelt

Kassel doctoral students and their topics: Early warning systems in project controlling

Image: Sascha Mannel

Many large infrastructure projects - such as Stuttgart 21 or the Elbphilharmonie concert hall - far exceed the planned costs or fail to meet the set deadlines and thus go beyond their scope. From a project management perspective, these projects cannot always be considered successful. (Operational) project controlling supports project implementation, but typically only looks at the causes of deviations or failures after the fact. This is where my dissertation topic comes in. My aim is to develop a concept for project controlling that pursues a so-called "feed-forward" approach, i.e. working with foresight rather than exclusively with hindsight. This includes anchoring early warning in project controlling. For example, a high employee turnover rate could be a warning signal. If you think about potential problems in advance, you can better manage expectations of the project and draw conclusions at an early stage. It is therefore crucial to raise awareness of the relevance of early warning in project controlling. I also deal with the fundamental question of how the dimensions of acceptance and success are connected. The example of the Elbe Philharmonic Hall shows that a project can be popular after its completion, even though this social acceptance was lacking at the beginning and the objectives were missed from a controlling perspective. So when is a project considered successful? How is this assessed? Perhaps this makes it possible to look at major projects from a different perspective and learn from past mistakes. I try to develop a project controlling approach that is as generic as possible, which can then be tailored to specific problems - because large-scale projects vary greatly in terms of their individual requirements and constraints - and at the same time involves as many stakeholders as possible in the project. I focus in particular on the area of transport infrastructure projects. Publicly financed projects such as transport routes or power lines in particular have to involve many stakeholders and take a wide range of boundary conditions into account. Forward-looking project controlling would therefore be essential here.

I started my doctorate in January 2021, so Prof. Dr.-Ing. Konrad Spang, the former head of the Project Management department at Faculty 15, is still supervising the project, even though he is retired. I want to complete it this year.


This article appeared in the university magazine publik 2024/1. protocol: Lisa-Maxine Klein