A methodology based on benchmarking to learn across megaprojects

Diletta Colette Invernizzi (School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Giorgio Locatelli (School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)
Naomi J. Brookes (School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

International Journal of Managing Projects in Business

ISSN: 1753-8378

Publication date: 5 March 2018



The literature lacks a single and universally accepted definition of major and megaprojects: usually, these projects are described as projects with a budget above $1 billion and a high level of innovation, complexity, and uniqueness both in terms of physical infrastructure and stakeholder network. Moreover, they often provide fewer benefits than what were originally expected and are affected by delays and cost overruns. Despite this techno-economic magnitude, it is still extremely hard to gather lessons learned from these projects in a systematic way. The purpose of this paper is to present an innovative methodology based on benchmarking to investigate good and bad practices and learn from a portfolio of unique megaprojects.


The methodology combines quantitative and qualitative cross-comparison of case studies and statistical analysis into an iterative process.


Indeed, benchmarking offers significant potential to identify good and bad practices and improve the performance of project selection, planning, and delivery.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology is exemplified in this paper using the case of Nuclear Decommissioning Projects and Programmes (NDPs).


Indeed, due to their characteristics, NDPs can be addressed as megaprojects, and are a relevant example for the application of the methodology presented here that collects and investigates the characteristics that mostly impact the performance of (mega)projects, through a continuous learning process.



This research has been supported by the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) through the Grant No. NNL/UA/002. The authors are extremely grateful to all the NDA and National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) experts for all the support received. The opinions in this paper represent only the point of view of the authors, and only the authors are responsible for any omission or mistake. This paper should not be taken to represent in any way the point of view of NDA, NNL, or any other organization involved in the decommissioning process of nuclear facilities either in the UK or abroad. The authors are also grateful to Alex Prior for having proofread this paper.


Invernizzi, D., Locatelli, G. and Brookes, N. (2018), "A methodology based on benchmarking to learn across megaprojects", International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 104-121. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMPB-05-2017-0054

Download as .RIS



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.