proposed paper will analyze the causes for the Montreal Olympic 1976 failure. The
successfulness of the project is evaluated by the constraints of scope, time,
and budget. In regard to the Montreal 1976 Olympics, the project failed due to
factors associated with stakeholders and proper management. The analysis aims
to identify key mistakes, actions that should have been taken, quality
assurances, cost-benefit analysis, and risk management.
Managers must be vigilant in overseeing how the
project is managed in regard to the time and the budget. Montreal was awarded
the 1976 Olympic Games over Los Angeles and Moscow. Montreal Olympics project
is argued to have failed due to initiate unrealistic goals.
Planning is one of the essential elements project
managers consider key to developing a successful project. If you fail to plan
than you plan to fail is a quote that I grew up hearing a lot and it definitely
applies to projects. Poor planning of a project results in the project to fail
– this is the case with the 1976 Montreal Olympics. There is a great deal of
planning that was required for hosting any event as large as the Olympics. The
planning stage endured many oversights and lack of workability. The financial
investment is an important part of planning. Planning allows for projects of
this nature to go beyond economic benefits and promote cross-cultural
interactions that allow Quebec the spotlight it desired.
The Mayor of Montreal, did not follow the conventional
process for preparing for the olympics. He assumed power over decisions that
were not just under his authority. This allowed for the poor planning to ensue.
The project was handed to corrupt private sector individuals who benefited from
the project while citizens of Montreal paid for the Olympic games.
The Olympic Village required detailed planning on
design and location. Mayor Drapeau made decisions without engaging important
stakeholders. The mayor awarded the contract to build Olympic Village to Les
Terrasses Zarolega Company which was unheard of in the region. He announced
that Olympic Village would be built in Viau Park, even though there were many
Reasons for project failure included lack of
communication, between stakeholders, tight deadlines for the project completion,
inadequate commitment and involvement from senior management, insufficient
budgets and resources.
The Olympic Village needed to serve a dual purpose by
provide lodging to athletes participating in Olympics as well as housing units
after the Olympic Games ended. The Mayor refused proposals of widely acclaimed
and economical plan for a temporary village. Mayor Drapeau insisted on
Mediterranean design for the Village. The design was impractical given the
weather conditions of Montreal.
5 Essential Elements of
a project to be successful there are some basic considerations must be followed
while managing the project. There are 5 essential elements which should be
Understanding the need for which project has been
created is the first stage of any project. The project manager is suppose to
liaison with key internal stakeholders and departments to establish their
requirements and agree on common objectives.
The project scope was not determined. The planning
started 2 years late because of political difficulties in Canada, Quebec and
Montreal. There were changes to the project even while it was in progress
without full acknowledgement or consensus for action. There was also
unrealistic scheduling which fit extremely tight deadlines where employees rotated
24 hour shifts just to attempt to be successful.
The mayor should not have injected himself without
soliciting the experts from all services like technical, geological, and
functional. It would have given different alternative
Projects can include variety of activities which can
be for creation of new product, processes or services. Products are supposed
meet defined objectives. The benefits of projects should be clearly articulated
at the beginning.
The Montreal Olympic complex consisted of a main
stadium, a velodrome, roads, walkways, practice fields, an Olympic Village
housing facility, and aditional structures. Montreal did not rush to get the project
completed. competition, instead work was awarded to selected contractors. The
Monitoring and Controlling process involve tasks and metrics necessary to
ensure that the approved and authorized project is within scope, on time, and
on a budget so that the project would proceed with minimal risk (Morin, 2010).
of lack of planning some of the activities which were originally planned, like
retractable roof were not begun until after Olympics.
Instead of using unusual construction techniques,
simpler, automated techniques should be used which reduce the time and cost
It was mostly Mayor who took decisions without
consulting anyone else. As a result, his accomplices made huge profits while
the general public of Montreal suffered. The client, architect, design
engineers, and project management did not function as a team.
A single person should not be given all the authority
to make decisions with regard to such a large project. Project manager should
take charge of all project related activities and keep other members involved
for taking inputs as well as for feedback.
A successful project requires commitment of resources
in terms of time, finances and equipment. Resources which were committed to the
project were not enough as project was of large scale. Labor, material, and
equipment had to be brought in from other areas. The crew shift, double shifts
and overtime were used to increase productivity. With realistic schedules
individual activities on the critical path can be crashed to avoid using
There are different stakeholders to project and each
group has different requirement from the project. Keeping them involved is
essential for success of project.
Each stakeholder in the project had his personal
interest. The key stakeholder group which was people of Montreal was ignored
throughout the lifecycle of project starting with initiation to planning and
finally execution. It was them who would be living with the facilities after
Olympics had concluded.
All stakeholders should be identified and addressed
and not just most prominent ones.
Quality Assurance Measures
Quality assurance measures for the project were non existsnt.
The strategies could have been used to ensure efficiency during construction at
every stage of project an issue was discovered and was put under wraps instead
of addressing it.
The final cost for the stadium was approximately
$13,000 per seat compared to $2,400 that was budgeted.
Quality assurance in construction requires that the
procedures for incorporating design changes into the construction plans to be
well developed and fully operated. Quality assurance is effective against
changes in design. Monitorign engineering activities should be established in order
to ensure that execution is as per plans and specifications.
o Foundation work increased from
the estimated cost of $ 497,576 the actual cost came up to $ 7,171,876.
o Olympic Village lost financing
o There was no financial
strategy. In the whole process, Mayor put on an extravagant show just to
convince rest of the world that Quebec was independent.
o Labor and Material Issues:
Corruption was there at all levels. Labor unions, suppliers and contractors left
no opportunity to take advantage of situation and fill their pockets. Labor complications
like insufficient laborers with no agreement between workers and management to
keep a tab on strikes contributed to delay in project
o Construction costs rise significantly
accompanied by inclement weather. It cost $400,000/day for construction heating
measures. The planning phase should identified weather as risk factor.
o Complex design with no scope.
Taillibert assumed that his designs were unique and the city should not think
about expenses. The Mayor rejected cuts in the design that would have saved up
to $146 million. $100 million could have been saved if steel was used to build
the stadium instead of concrete. Avoiding waste cascade would have led to
saving of $35 million. Even viaduct cost $14 million instead of $5 million with
the complex design. If simple design was used, it would have been much easier
to execute it without incurring additional costs.
Jean Drapeau: Mayor of Montreal
Drapeau awarded the contract to an unknown company Les Terrasses Zarolega
Company. The company faced financial challenges due to not being able to obtain
the neccasary funding. The mayor took risk by making sole decisions on construction
of the project. The result was excessive debt for the city which ultimately had
to be paid by citizens of Montreal.
Las Terrasses Zarolega: Contractor
The contractors were chosen by the Mayor. Instead of requested/
required 4000 units, only 932 units were built by Zarolega. He had backing of
Mayor because of which he got excessively greedy. The deal included a
management fee for a percentage of costs that encouraged him to spend more on
the project. Construction operations mad maximum profits.
Zarolega took several risks. Pride as it could improve
their quality of life. However, the public was not involved as whole process
was closed door corruption. The risk was a huge Olympic debt of $1.5 billion
while private players profited.