Developing Effective Project Management Strategy for Flood Disaster Prevention Projects in Bayelsa State Capital, Nigeria


Recent predictions by Flood management experts about Flood re-occurrences in many countries like the United Kingdom, United States, China, etc., advocates for a shift in focus, from the existing structural heavy engineered Flood Defences, to a more sustainable and effective project management strategy in Flood prevention Projects globally. This same phenomenon of perennial Flooding in the Bayelsa state Capital, Nigeria, has created the need for a more effective and sustainable Project Management Strategy, of the ongoing Flood Prevention Projects in Yenagoa, Capital of Bayelsa State. A qualitative investigation, through: peer reviewed journals, interviews of Stakeholders in the Flood prevention Project from Bayelsa State, documents, reports, a systematic Content-Thematic analysis and discussion, revealed that, the combination of Structural Engineered Flood Defences and the components of Non-structural Adaptive Governance Strategy, is a more effective/sustainable Project Management Strategy for the Flood Prevention Projects in Bayelsa State Capital, Nigeria.

The Strategy contributes to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, by providing, first, a Project Management Strategy framework of, cordiality, collaboration between Government, the Public, Professionals, and Project Managers, together with strong financial support from the Government, as resilience against Flood disaster impact, and second, recommends best standards/practices in Flood Defence Projects in the State.

Chapter One


1.1 Overview

Natural Flood disaster is a phenomenon that is common around the globe that causes enormous losses in terms of lives and properties (Ismail et al., 2014). For instance, Deen, (2015) maintained that in Pakistan since the year 1973, the country has been ravaged by seven major Flood disasters, affecting about 40 million people, and causing a massive devastation of homes, infrastructures, farmlands, businesses, livestock etc. Additionally, Kim and Choi, (2013), He et al., (2013), and Rojas et al., (2013), all maintained that natural disasters like floods, hurricanes, tornados, etc. have caused a tremendous socio-economic cost and considerable loss of lives.To provide a solution, Ismail et al., (2014) stated that, it was very important for NGOs (Non- Governmental Agencies) and Government Agencies/Organizations involved in post- disaster or Flood disaster reconstruction projects to embark on Studies to mitigate these disasters and learn from previous Flood disaster projects in terms of their successes and failures, for the purpose of improvement.

Experts thus, emphasized that there was need to embark on prevention of Flood disasters than to focus on rebuilding Flood disaster projects, due to threatening predictions of Flood reoccurrences globally (Kim and Choi, 2013). To support this, Hasson et al., (2008), emphasized that a sustainable or effective Flood prevention Project Management, that mitigates perennial Flood losses, can help reduce the suffering of citizens. Therefore, Countries and States especially who are plagued by perennial flood problems, for example, the Case Study of this Research, Bayelsa State Capital, have embarked on and still searching for the most effective or sustainable Project Management Strategies to cub the challenge.

1.2 Company Background and Research Problem

The Sponsoring organization of this Project is the Capital City Development Authority Bayelsa State, Nigeria, responsible for controlling and monitoring the developments in the State Capital. Their responsibility is also to plan, manage and monitor the Flood Prevention Projects in the State, carried out in conjunction with Ministry of Works, together with Professionals to execute the Project. They also ensure all developments are in harmony with the Master Plan of the State. The Flood Prevention Project is usually an extensive State Project that starts from the beginning of the rainy season till its end i.e. from July up till November, which consists of Flood Defences and Drainage construction works most times. These Projects have been faced with the challenge of an effective Project Management Strategy, that could enable the Flood Prevention Projects to deliver the best and sustainable Output that mitigates the Perennial Flooding in the state capital and consequently meeting the need of the citizens in Capital City of Bayelsa State.

1.3 Study Area

The Study Area which is the Bayelsa State Capital (Yenagoa) in Nigeria, is a City in the Niger Delta Region. Lies between North and Eastern part of the State. The city is located on the Banks of Ekole Creeks and Nun River. Hence, it is a land surrounded by many Rivers and Distributaries as seen below, highly vulnerable to Flood (Yenagoa Capital City Development Strategy, 2007). Below are figures showing Bayelsa State water Bodies and the Location map.

1.4 Research Questions

• What Strategies have been used in the Past for Flood Prevention Projects and how effective are they?

• What factors can enhance the successful and sustainable delivery of the Flood Prevention Projects in Bayelsa State Capital?

• What Obstacles can prevent the effective and Sustainable Delivery of the Flood Prevention Projects in the State?

• What should be the most effective Project Management Strategy for the Flood Prevention Projects in Bayelsa State Capital Nigeria?

1.5 Research Objectives

1.6 Structure of the Dissertation

This research is made up of Eight Chapters which includes Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Presentation of Results/Findings, Analysis and Discussion of Findings, Recommendations, Project Evaluation and finally Conclusion. These will be discussed subsequently.

Chapter one will introduce the study from a global perspective, showing the Problem to be solved, as well justifying the reason to carry out the research. Following is the company Background, the study Area, the Research Questions, Objectives, Structure of the Dissertation and finally the Limitations.

The second Chapter reviews critically all the relevant Literature that relates to the topic of the Dissertation. Peer Reviewed Journals are used to explore several case studies to investigate different Strategies of Flood Prevention Projects, alongside Critical success factors to enhance effective or sustainable Delivery of Flood Prevention Projects, the Obstacles that prevent effective delivery and Major causes of Flooding in the State.

The Third Chapter basically shows the Research Methodology employed in this research which is majorly a Qualitative Research with a bit of quantitative statistics. It also included how the research questions and objectives were addressed, the Data collection methods, the Sampling Technique, the Validity and Reliability, the Ethical considerations and the summary.

The Fourth Chapter is the Presentation of Results and Findings, which includes the Findings or Results, the Grouping of these Findings and Finally the Summary of these findings.

The Fifth Chapter is the Analysis and Discussion if the Findings. This section analyses and discussed the summary of the Findings under each Issue of the Issues presented in the Findings and Results.

The Sixth Chapter basically discusses first, the Proposed Strategy and secondly, Recommendations of the Proposed Strategy.

The Seventh chapter discusses the Project Evaluation. This emphasizes on a critical evaluation of the Project Objectives, the Client requirement, and the Overall Management and Progress of the Project.
The Eight chapter discusses the conclusion of this Dissertation.

1.7 Limitations

Economic Experts do say, ‘all things being equal’ i.e. in a normal circumstance, this research is expected to finish within 600 hours or three and half months. However, below are some limitations in the study.

• Planning for a new Research is an unpredictable task to venture, it would take a lot of courage and Determination to succeed.

• Financial challenges can come in terms of cost for international flights and resources.

• 600 hours to finish the Research would be quite challenging to manage, thus requires a lot of Discipline.

• The distance of Student to the Client in Nigeria is another challenge, hence needing virtual means of communication like emails, Skype etc.

• Feedback from Client if he is busy can cause delays, therefore, alterations in the Schedule may be inevitable.

• Outdated data from the Organization may be the ones available or absence of the required ones, hence a back-up from internet may be necessary.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Scholars, have stipulated that only little research have been carried out on post-disaster flood prevention Projects that focused on effective project management Strategy (Steinfort & Walker, 2007) and on the critical success factors (CSFs) that enhances effective and sustainable delivery of Flood prevention Projects. Hasson et al. (2008) also, argued that many Governments are short of the most appropriate institutional systems, to implement effective cost reduction, quality output and better project management Strategies for Flood Projects. Reflecting over Hasson et al., (2008)’s argument, the issue of determining appropriate strategy for Flood prevention, that will be effective and sustainable, seems to be a challenging issue, hence involving a lot of uncertainties (Van den Hoek et al., 2014), which in turn, causes changes and improvement strategies in Flood prevention projects from time to time. Based on these arguments, it is of utmost importance to embark on this study, in order to enhance effective delivery of Flood prevention Projects in Bayelsa State capital.

In this Study, first, an exposition of what Effective Project Management Strategy is, will be dealt with; and then examples of Flood prevention Projects with some illustrations, also, to learn from the past Project management Strategies in Flood prevention, a substantial number of Strategies embarked upon from the past and present, in relation to their effectiveness will be reviewed, which addresses the objective (1) and answer to research question 1. Following will be Critical Success Factors/Building blocks to effective project management in Flood prevention Projects answering research question 2 and objective 2, Obstacles to Effective project Management in Flood prevention Projects follows, which addresses the research question 3 with objective 2 and then major causes of re-occurring Flood disasters addressing objectives 3.

2.1.1 Concept of Effective Project Management Strategy

It is very important to know and understand the Concept of Effective Project Management Strategy because, Scholars from Literature have argued that Project Management remains a serious challenge to deal with, owing to the fact that a lot of projects still fail and project management in many projects have not been consistently effective as it ought to be in Project delivery/improvements (Carvalho et al., 2015; Anderson and Merna, 2003). Carvalho et al., (2015), argued that even in cases where projects were completed within the right time and budget their results in most cases were less effective or sustainable.

Hence, to understand the concept of effective project management strategy, Anderson and Merna, (2003) first explains the concept ‘project management strategy’ as a strategy that is meant for the management of a project, which makes it different from ‘project strategy’ (i.e. a high level plan to achieve the project objectives). The scholars also added that the meaning of ‘Strategy’ varied from an overarching (encompassing or extensive) policy to that of a Basic plan. Scholars have maintained that integration of the two concepts, ‘project management’ and ‘strategy’ are yet to gain enough popularity in recent Literature. However, Newton, (2006), emphasized that the most important thing about a Project Management Strategy, is ensuring the project meets the Project objectives, and are complete within the given cost, and at the right time, which eventually cumulates into Project management success.

Carvalho et al., (2015) maintained that there remains a gap in the available Literature concerning the relationship between Project effectiveness/success and Project Management. However, Carvalho et al., (2015) in agreement with Newton, (2006), stipulated that the traditional view of effective/successful project management entails the fulfilment of Cost, time and quality objectives in a given project.

In another perspective, Besner and Hobbs (2013) stated that competence and maturity have a complex, diverse and intertwining link or relationship with successful Project management. Hence, it is worthy to note that, the concept of effective/successful project management is a multidimensional concept in which different stakeholders and groups have varying perceptions of project management success (Chou and Yang, 2012).

Based on these arguments, effective/successful project management strategy is relative and may depend on what the organization views as the success criteria. Secondly by reflecting on Carvalho et al., (2015)’s notion, effective/successful project Management should entail a project that meets the Project objectives of cost, quality/sustainable output and right time delivery.

2.1.2 Examples of Flood Prevention Projects

The concept of Flood prevention projects in Literature, is mostly used to mean Flood defense Projects. For example Landers, (2014), talked about the UK (United Kingdom) Flood prevention projects, which he also referred to as ‘UK Coastal defense project’ that involved building defenses like ‘Intertidal Habitat’ of buffer zones against flood disasters. Other examples among many are Dams, Embankments, community engagement etc. as shown by Ketonen, (2011) and Mountassir et al., 2014, in figures 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 below.

2.2 Historical view point of Researchers about Project Management Strategies in Flood prevention and how effective they were

A review from available Literature reveals that Project Management Strategies and performance of post-Flood disaster/prevention Projects in either qualitative or quantitated ways, have not been much emphasized (Kim and Choi, 2013). In addition Kim and Choi, (2013) argued that much emphasis was rather placed on administrative improvement and guidelines, which was geared towards enhancing faster construction works. Hence, they resultantly emphasized on a Micro and Macro level cause and effect analysis Strategy, to identify the causes of low Project management outcomes in Flood disaster prevention projects, which they recommended was effective to break the vicious cycle of Flood disasters.

However, in pursuit of better Strategies that enhances sustainable Flood defense project output, authors are advocating for a shift from the Structural heavy engineered flood defense projects to non-structural approaches such as: Adaptive governance in Flood prevention Projects (Lei et al. 2015), social risks (Zeng et al., 2011); public/stakeholders participation (Wehn et al., 2015;Scolobig et al., 2015) and a more ecosystem/environmental friendly approach (Olsson et al., 2004; and Landers, 2014).

In order to understand their merits and demerits, Lei et al. (2015) maintains that while the heavy Engineered Structural Flood defense strategy in China, offered some protection from disasters, they tend to create a false sense of security and consequently encourage intensive use of the disaster prone areas, thus increasing vulnerability. Lei et al. (2015) also maintained that it had reached the point where further expansion of Flood defense projects were becoming more un-sustainable, hence, the need to explore strategies like Adaptive governance Strategy.

The Adaptive Governance means the different arms of multi-level governance such as, the government, the Community Leaders, Project Managers, and Civil Societies, collaborating to build resilience for the global Change and Flood disasters respectively (Olsson et al., 2004). Walker et al., (2004) also compared the two above mentioned strategies, arguing that the Adaptive governance enhances adaptability in the socio-cultural and ecological context, compared to the Engineered Flood defense Project.

Tom et al. (2013) talked about the UK (United Kingdom) Flood defence strategy vs the Sustainable Flood Risk Management, in which it was also stipulated that in the early 2000s, it was the Structural Flood defence Strategy that was emphasized in UK, and it was maintained that the Engineered Flood defence Strategy was less cost effective and expensive, thereby giving rise to a new policy called the Sustainable Flood Risk Management, which was said to be more effective (Tom et al. 2013).

Tom et al., (2013), further stated that the new Policy in the UK prioritizes Sustainability in Flood risk management and prevention. Walker et al. (2012) in support, emphasized that this new policy is an adaptive privileging resilience, involving individuals/communities coming together to overcome the impact of Flood disaster, similar to the Adaptive governance Strategy. This Strategy, by reflection, seems also to be more sustainable than the heavy engineered Flood defence Project management Strategy. However, there were also stipulations that the Engineered Flood defence Strategy still remained a gold standard for Flood prevention projects (Tom et al. 2013).

More variety of strategies emerge in Literature from a more global perspective. For example, Rawle, (2005) in a US (United States) Senate committee report, emphasized on Insurance Policy, in their Flood defence Projects by improving and strengthening the National Flood Insurance Programme, to enable Gulf of Mexico citizens to cope with the impact of re-occurring Floods. This was done by Government contribution of $40 million yearly to the Flood Insurance Program, which also recorded success.

Wehn et al., (2015) in their exposition, proposed a Public Participation via ICT (information, communication and Technology)-enabled Citizen Observatories Strategy, which involved the analysis of the potentials of citizen participation via ICT in UK, Netherlands and Italy. However, the Scholars maintained that there was limited level of implementation in this framework, in terms of the respective roles played by Citizens in the different stages of Flood risk management.

Looking away from the previously mentioned challenges of public participation strategy, public participation still gains more popularity. For example, Reij, (2015); Scoones, (2015) and Scherr et al., (2014) while talking about the Green revolution, expounded on an Integration of community participation and Leadership commitment Strategy. Reij, (2015) and Scherr et al., (2014), revealed how effective this strategy was, as a result of a strong public participation of community members who compulsorily engaged in the green revolution Project and Flood prevention. It was also said that their Leader, had good Leadership skills and high level commitment in the project, alongside a strong support from Stakeholders/Government.

Also Kwark et al., (2014) still to support public participation, emphasized that the successful public–private partnership used in the Hoover Dam project in the US, in which there was a strong push on the Project by strong financial support, paved way for the huge success witnessed in the Hoover Dam Project.
However, the Ethiopian project was also characterized by building of Flood defenses in terms of Canals, terrace, contour farming techniques and dams, to prevent flooding (Scherr et al., 2014). Here it was said to be very successful because, first, the community members co-operated in the prevention policy, and secondly, the team spirit alongside strong commitment from Leader and Government (Reij, 2015; Scoones, 2015; and Scherr et al., 2014). By implication, there was a combination of engineered Flood defense and Community involvement.

Still addressing the need for sustainable/effective Strategy in Flood prevention projects, Van den Hoek et al., (2014), in another approach, emphasized that in Flood prevention and coastal protection, a sustainable Ecosystem design and ecological engineering involving the integration of the natural environment and the human society, seems and remains a promising strategy, but still being researched as regards its feasibility. To buttress this point is the preposition by Pahl-Wostl et al., (2011) that Flood management is moving towards a more nature oriented approach with a greater follow-up from the international communities.

However, going back to China as earlier discussed, the Chinese government also introduced a new policy involving both Structural Flood defense and Non-Structural Flood defenses (Luo et al., (2015). It was maintained that, the new policy, was a combination of both structural and non-structural flood defense, in order to adapt to future floods and enhance the effectiveness of China’s Flood prevention projects. The Structural approach comprised of the Three Gorges Dam project, which was said to be effective because of an effective cost-benefit ratio. While the non-structural strategy comprised of Change of Land use, a social/welfare responsibility law, and moving people out of Flood prone plains. The Scholars maintained that the combination of the two Strategies yielded the best results.

Summarily, by critical reflection over the just reviewed Strategies, the non-structural Project management Strategies for Flood prevention projects, is gaining greater emphasis worldwide and could produce better, effective and sustainable results, if combined with the existing Engineered Flood defense Strategy as argued by Luo et al., (2015).

2.3 Critical Success Factors to Effective Project Management Strategy for Flood Prevention Projects: The Building Blocks

Ismail et al., (2014), stipulated that the study of the factors, which lead to either success or failure of the post-disaster/Flood prevention projects will provide the organizations involved in the projects, with the foundation of how to enhance the effectiveness of the Project Management Strategy. However, the focus on the Factors and not the criteria to the success factors is because, it has been reasoned that different authors and organizations do not maintain the same success criteria (Ahmed, 2011).
The Critical success factors will thus be reviewed under: Disaster related Projects, Post Disaster Housing Projects, and Project Management for Post Disaster Project in Non-Governmental Organizations.


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