A determination of solutions to causes of failures in implementation of physical development projects in Kenya
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This study addresses the subject of planning and implementation of physical development projects. Planning aims at allocating scarce resources to competing needs. The end product of a planning exercise is a project, which consists of a set of programmes and i activities, which, if successfully implemented, the development problems of the area would be solved. Planning includes making a commitment to implementing the resulting proqrammes. Implementation includes the actualization of the project, where the deliverables are physically constructed and presented to the customer for acceptance. Successful implementation results to a situation where the project delivers within the specified parameters and under the stated conditions, Failure on the other hand, includes instances, when the system is not delivering or where the output is substandard. The study was undertaken with the objectives of taking an inventory of the physical development projects in the study area, assessing the level of success and failure in their implementation, isolating the causes of failures to the implementation process and proposing solutions to mitigate against the identified causes of failures. In an attempt to realize the above objectives, the study targets the physical development projects undertaken in the planning regions of Nakuru, Transmara and Nyandarua Districts within the Republic of Kenya. Physical development project data relating to project agents, costs,completion, degree of implementation, due dates and other relevant implementation logistics were collected. Private and public sector planning professionals, project implementers, project owners, public officers and consumers provided the bulk of the data used in the study. The number and categories of the data sources were selected through the application of probabilistic and non-probabilistic statistical procedures. The study is restricted to addressing the physical development projects relating to health, roads and electric power supply, which have been undertaken between the years 2000 and 2009. Thus, only the short and medium-term projects have been addressed. Development projects proposed in the approved regional physical development plans and those prepared by the local agents formed part of the data sources. The study noted the existence of many public, semi-public, private and community-based planning and implementing agents in the study area, each operating independently of each other in terms of the number, category and the spatial distribution of individual projects. A plan implementation process consists of numerous phases, all operating within the limitations of technological, economic, political and environmental constraints. Therefore, failure can occur within anyone of the phases. The study identified the major causes of failures to include insufficient implementation capacity, poor project management, inherent weakness due to project 'deSign, poor implementation logistics, defective project termination procedures and political interferences. Out of the total 568 proposed projects under the study, 13.6% were not constructed, 29.7% were constructed but not completed, 35.7% were fully constructed, but exhibited varying levels of failure. Only 20.9% of the proposed projects were fully constructed and found to deliver as expected. These are considered to have been implemented without any failure. It is concluded that, successful project implementation is still a big challenge in Kenya. The study recommends that project planning and implementation should be treated as a system, where all stakeholders are consulted, in the entire life cycle of the project. Other mitigation measures recommended by the study include the application of capacity enhancing techniques, use of superior management tools and utilization of better quality materials. The study proposes the adoption of the principle of contingency planning and introduction of good political governance, as good practices which can enhance the success of the project implementation efforts.