Lifecycle driven planning of infrastructure: public and private experiences with more integrated approaches for managing project complexity
Currently, many initiatives are under implementation in the Netherlands to integrate the stages of policymaking, plan development, construction, and operations and maintenance in the lifecycle of the infrastructure planning process by more explicitly involving business organizations. However, generally speaking, these integration initiatives stand alone and only connect a maximum of two stages at a time. In this article we explore whether and how contemporary lifecycle integration initiatives could be combined into a more integrated approach to be better able to address infrastructure planning complexities. We provide a framework for dealing with project complexity that distinguishes internal complexity, defined as the interrelatedness between project components, and external complexity, defined as the interaction of the project with its context. After assessing public and private experiences in combining single integration initiatives in complex settings by means of two focus group discussions, we conclude that current initiatives that connect stages in the planning process are suitable for addressing internal complexity. However, external complexity proves to be more difficult to adequately tackle when combining these lifecycle integration initiatives. We therefore recommend applying a more dynamic process management approach that stimulates continuous public-private interaction throughout the stages of the planning lifecycle. This could be facilitated by introducing alliances and cross-functional public-private teams.