Advanced project support


Let’s talk about public projects!



By Stanisław Gasik

Warsaw, Poland


Every action taken by public administration related to projects in which they are involved aims to increase the likelihood of project success. This includes defining and implementing methodologies, establishing governance principles, creating PMOs, supervising implementation, encouraging knowledge exchange, and various other activities. These are ways in which government institutions support public projects. But project support is often considered to be activities that directly involve public institutions in the implementation of the project (direct support). We can divide this type of support into two categories.

The simplest and most commonly implemented way for public institutions (e.g., Project Management Offices) to support public projects is by performing routine tasks such as financial management (e.g., recording financial documents) and communication management (e.g., preparing periodic reports, supporting and documenting meetings). This is a routine project support. In this article, we will focus on more advanced functions of public project support.

Projects, by their very nature, encounter risks and problems during implementation. Some of these problems can and should be resolved by the contractor teams themselves. This category includes, for instance, some issues related to project planning, the low performance of the contractor’s project team members, or the quality of the software being developed. They are internal problems of the contractor.

However, there are also problems that the contractor team cannot prevent or that the public institution can solve more effectively. In public infrastructure projects, one issue might be the lengthy process of obtaining necessary permits or environmental approvals. Another example of a problem in public projects could be the prolonged decision-making process on the side of the contracting institution’s management.

When a project requires cooperation among several public institutions, a lack of collaboration and coordination can be problematic. It also happens that the public employees assigned to participate in the project do not have the appropriate competencies or qualifications for the project’s execution. Another issue could be the lack of financial liquidity on the part of the public entity. Overcoming negative attitudes of public stakeholders, such as local communities, often cannot be achieved without the involvement of the public institution. For instance, how to organize the relocation of communities from areas where infrastructure projects will be carried out? These are just examples of issues that the public institution can handle better than the contractor.

If the resolution of such problems were left to the contractor, they could at best appeal to the appropriate public institutions to take the necessary actions in a timely manner. However, this approach is rarely effective. It may also be the case that the contractor cannot effectively solve its internal problems, for instance, those related to quantitative risk management. An alternative approach is the active involvement of public institutions in ensuring the success of public projects. Actions taken by public institutions aimed at solving problems that are better managed by the public sector rather than by a private contractor are called advanced project support.

There are two main types of advanced project support: problem-oriented support and process-oriented support (Gasik, 2023).


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Editor’s note: This article series is related to the management of public programs and projects, those organized, financed and managed by governments and public officials.  The author, Dr. Stanisław Gasik, is the author of the book “Projects, Government, and Public Policy”, recently published by CRC Press / Taylor and Francis Group.  That book and these articles are based on Dr. Gasik’s research into governmental project management around the world over the last decade.  Stanisław is well-known and respected by PMWJ editors; we welcome and support his efforts to share knowledge that can help governments worldwide achieve their most important initiatives.

How to cite this paper: Gasik, S. (2024). Advanced project support, Let’s talk about public projects, series article, PM World Journal, Volume XIII, Issue VI, June. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/06/pmwj142-Jun2024-Gasik-Advanced-Project-Support-public-projects-series.pdf

About the Author

Stanisław Gasik, PhD, PMP

Warsaw, Poland


Dr. Stanisław Gasik, PMP is a project management expert. He graduated from the University of Warsaw, Poland, with M. Sc. in mathematics and Ph. D. in organization sciences (with a specialty in project management). Stanisław has over 30 years of experience in project management, consulting, teaching, and implementing PM organizational solutions. His professional and research interests include project knowledge management, portfolio management, and project management maturity. He is the author of the only holistic model of project knowledge management spanning from the individual to the global level.

Since 2013, his main professional focus has been on public projects. He was an expert in project management at the Governmental Accountability Office, an institution of the US Congress. He is the author of “Projects, Government, and Public Policy,” a book that systematizes knowledge about government activities in the area of project management.

He was a significant contributor to PMI’s PMBOK® Guide and PMI Standard for Program Management and contributed to other PMI standards. He has lectured at global PMI and IPMA congresses and other international conferences.

His web page is www.gpm3.eu.

To view other works by Dr. Gasik, please visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/stanislaw-gasik-phd-pmp/