by Peter Marlow

This research paper, entitled “Applying Agile Project Management Methodology to Natural Disaster Projects” by Marie Desiree M. Beekharry, University of South Australia, investigates how agile methodology can best be applied to the management of natural disaster projects to ensure more effective outcomes. It’s available for download/access at the UNISA Website.

The increasing volatility of our global environment is proving a major challenge for governments, aid and private organisations in delivering effective and efficient post- disaster relief and recovery project management (PM). When disasters strike, especially when consequences become catastrophic, demands on all resources and capabilities in the affected countries exceed supply. The traditional PM decision-making system is impeded by overly bureaucratic and political issues, and in addition there is a lack of local knowledge and ability to diffuse problems. Therefore, it is essential for the disaster management (DM) community to consider alternative methods to enable more effective PM and assist those affected to transition from post-disaster chaos to smooth recovery.

The aims of the research were:

1. To assess the current PM practices in post-disaster projects;
2. To evaluate which elements of best-practice PM are most essential for an adaptable methodology to manage post-disaster projects;
3. To understand the issues and challenges and seek potential solutions for the management of post-disaster projects;
4. To examine whether national and international organisations face similar issues and challenges and how an adaptable methodology would impact post-disaster projects; and
5. To propose an agile framework which can be applied to post-disaster projects.

Eight Disaster Management projects (earthquake, typhoon and tropical cyclone disasters) were studied and analysed in depth. Project Managers and emergency managers were surveyed. Based on the findings and lessons learned, an agile framework for post-disaster projects has been developed.

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