Integrated Infrastructure Management


The writer below is Discussing the tensions that may exist among the demands of the various stakeholder groups. And has provided suggestions on how to achieve the optimal trade-off between such tensions.
Analyze the write-up giving your own opinion while raising a question to the writer
?Each infrastructure project involves a complex network of key stakeholders? (UOL/LOE, n.d., p. 1). It is therefore necessary to identify stakeholders, their requirements and expectations and sustain their support for the duration of the project (p. 1) to deliver it successfully. However, stakeholders rarely have matching ideas and directions and the project manager is facing a huge task of balancing needs and finding trade-off.
The Fehmarn belt connecting Denmark and Germany is set to be the world?s longest immersed tunnel (Femern, n.d.A) and is a major infrastructure project planned to be completed in 2021. Such a project, involving two countries and affecting more than the local environment will have a long list of stakeholders. The most ?important? are listed below and classified according to Olander?s (2007, p. 279) classification system:
? The Danish Minister of Transport ? Dominant or Definitive
? The German Minister of Transport ? Dominant or Definitive
? The Danish authorities ? Dominant or Definitive
? The German authorities – Definitive
? Shipping authorities ? Dependent
? Environmental organisations ? Demanding or Definitive
? The public ? Discretionary
The involvement of two governments, i.e. Danish and German, are a potential source of tension as the politicians by no means are following the same agenda(s), possess the same dedication or agree on the cost and/or necessity of the project. Secondly, differing legal requirements and systems can complicate matters further.
Another typical scenario is opposition from environmental organisations and/or authorities. The Fehmarn connection is located at the narrowest point between Denmark and Germany and concerns have been raised in relation to local marine life, bird migration routes (NABU, n.d.) and the all-important inflow of oxygenated and salty water from the North Sea (Mikulski, 1985, p. 7).
1. Governments
The Fehmarn belt connection was first delayed by German authorities being unable/unwilling to support the project financially. This was a major problem requiring either alternative funding options or cheaper solutions. It is hard to find significant savings in the concept stage but also safety and quality requirements to bridges/tunnels spanning over a major shipping route cannot be compromised. The Danish government therefore had to agree on an alternative funding solution which resulted in a large contribution from the Danish state. The agreement sees Denmark contribute with ?3.3bn, EU ?1.5bn and Germany with only ?0.8bn (Anon, 2007, p. 464).
The Danish government used Yang et al.?s (2010, p. 779) CSF 10 and solved the conflict via a compromise. The offer of increased funding was possible as the public opinion was very positive towards the project while the Danish business environment demanded a connection. I do not see any other ways of achieving an agreement that would be more optimal in terms of trade-offs and project progress. It is clear that the two governments had very different views of CSF 4 and 5 (p. 779), which Denmark being very positive due to the opening of trade towards the east, and on Falster and Lolland, while Germany were more reluctant of opening up to Danish competitors.
1. Environment
Similar to the approach highlighted by UOL/LOE (n.d., p. 3), Femern A/S have so far successfully managed to engage various environmental stakeholders systematic and structured. This has resulted in solid answers to all environmental questions from authorities, environmental groups and concerned members of the public. For instance, a great deal of investigations has been utilised in investigating value for money while considering the environment (DHI, 2013, Femern A/S, n.d.B, Fermen A/S, 2010 and Femern A/S, 2013). This reports eventually led to a recommendation of an immersed tunnel as the cheapest option with the shortest construction and disturbance time and smallest impact to the environment (pp. 2-3). Femern A/S has successfully given the public a forum to raise concerns while the project provides answers to these specific concerns, i.e. the project harvest the same benefits as highlighted by Olander and Landin (2008) by providing open, trustworthy, cooperative, respectful and informative communication (p. 556) while also showing that the project does care and provides a sustainable solution.
Stakeholder management is a necessary ?evil? on all projects. It takes time, costs money and can be very frustrating/complicated (Odoni et al., 2009, p. 58). Nevertheless, proven methods of classification, ranking and CSF exists in the literature which can assist the project manager in navigating the stakeholder landscape. Thereafter, the project manager must rely on making compromises and providing clear communication as highlighted here.