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Project Failure: Can You Avoid It?

Title: Project Failure
Subtitle: Can You Avoid It?
Subject Classification: Business and Management, Decision Making, Sustainability 
BIC Classification: KJ, GPQ, RN
BISAC Classification: BUS101000, TEC062000, TEC010000
Binding: Hardback, ebook, pp.238
Publication date: 17th April 2024
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-623-5
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-624-2


To view a sample of the book, please click here


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This book supposes you want to plan and complete a ‘project’. Why might you fail? What can you do to reduce the chances of failure? This book looks at where projects fail, the causes, and what measures can limit failure.           

Failures and the reasons for them are examined. Areas discussed include unclear objectives;  evaluating alternatives; the planning fallacy; misperception of the nature of risk; devising risk appetite; overly narrow risk assessment and identification; undervaluing natural capital; lack of stakeholder engagement; unclear responsibility assignment; and conflicting interests. Machiavellianism can make things happen when they shouldn’t, or obstruct them when they should happen. The book concludes with a concise one-page risk management guide.

As well as pulling together and summarising relevant literature sources, the author draws on more than fifty years’ experience in small and large-scale project management including water supply, biodiversity and environmental management, and work with the extractive industries. 


Author: Mike Mentis is a consultant in business and the environment specialising in infrastructure and resource projects in the Southern Africa region.


"Dr Mentis introduces a much-needed departure from conventional risk management…The book draws upon failures, conflicts between conventional norms and logic, as well as the law and experience…presenting a compact risk management guide to avoiding conventional shortcomings and prevent failure. An essential and thought-provoking guide for environmentalists and the likes to proactively navigate the ever-shifting landscape of risk."

- Ian Ansell (Senior Environmental Manager – Transport, BAM Nuttall UK & Ireland)

"…he has also given us a way to put public values back into a field where the irreversible loss of natural capital is routinely disregarded and where conflict of interest is rampant. It’s rare to find a text that makes professional standards and independent science part of a decision-making process so clearly and so convincingly. In that sense, it is groundbreaking!"

- Professor Leslie London - Chair of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health & Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, South Africa


"Do read this book. It will deeply stimulate your intellect, add to your wisdom, provide new perspectives and insights into ecological and economic ways in which people use resources."

- Dr Roy Siegfried - Former Director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology at the University of Cape Town


"...experience armed [Mike Mentis] with the tools, many developed by him, to make a success of rehabilitation projects in the mining industry and to advise private and public conservation agencies on critical decisions for developments. Many of these experiences are drawn on in the book to illustrate his arguments for a revised approach to determining why a project or ongoing business might fail… The book makes a valuable contribution to the conservation of natural capital around the world."

- Dr Pete Zacharias - Chair of The Tony and Lisette Lewis Foundation, South Africa, and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of KwaZulu Natal

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