You are on page 1of 7

Workshop 3 – Case Study

Case Study – The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games


The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games is a large-scale and very complex project involving a diverse
range of activities and large numbers of people. Given the nature and vast scale of this project, sound
and exemplary project management techniques and principles are essential for its success. The strict
time constraints set for the project increase the difficulties of managing cost and quality. The project
will be regarded as successful if it is finished to time, on budget, and to the required quality. Good
quality means meeting the needs specified by the organiser, to the standard and specification laid
down, with a predictable degree of reliability and uniformity, at a price consistent with the
organiser's budget and to the satisfaction of the end users. This review discusses issues that need to
be addressed to make this project a success.


The bid was prepared by Sydney Olympics Bid Limited which drew on funds from the private and
public sectors and worked in close co-operation with the Australian Olympic Committee. It enjoyed
broad public support with 90 per cent of the people across Australia supporting the bid. More than
100,000 volunteers offered their services. The bid was centered on the theme Share the Spirit and
called on the people of Sydney to join in the excitement of the bid, and invited the world to come and
share the spirit of Sydney at the Olympic Games in the year 2000. The bid also included a
comprehensive set of environmental guidelines recognising the principle of ecologically sustainable
development. The guidelines promote energy conservation; water conservation; waste avoidance and
minimisation; protection of air, water, and soil from pollution; and protection of significant natural
and cultural environments.

Some significant features

The New South Wales Government underwrites the games and is responsible for the provision of
new permanent venues and facilities needed for the games. It also provides support services
particularly in the areas of transport, security, and healthcare. The construction of new sporting
facilities and refurbishment of existing facilities for the games is being undertaken by the State
Government's Olympic Co-ordination Authority, namely: Sydney Organising Committee for the
Olympic Games (SOCOG).

Staging of the 2000 Games is the responsibility of SOCOG which was established in November
1993 by legislation in the New South Wales Parliament.

Except for some football preliminaries, all Olympic events are planned to be held in metropolitan
Sydney in venues within thirty minutes travel from the Olympic Village. No training facility will be
more than forty-five minutes away from the village.

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 1

The focus is mainly on two Olympic zones, namely: the Sydney Olympic Park, situated at
Homebush Bay about 14 km west of the Sydney city centre, and the Sydney Harbor zone located
near the Sydney city centre and accessible by road, rail, and ferry from Sydney Olympic Park.

A series of test events in the years preceding the Olympic Games is planned with the aim of trialling
the Olympic venues, training the technical officials and volunteers who will help conduct the events
at the Olympic Games, and selectively trialling arrangements for accreditation, transport, security,
broadcasting, media, and other services.

Infrastructure - preparation work for the games

A significant number of Sydney's Olympic venues already exist. Most of the remaining facilities
required for the games will be constructed as part of the redevelopment program being undertaken at
Homebush Bay.

Key elements of the Homebush Bay area include the construction of new sporting facilities,
establishment of a new showground and major exhibition centre, development of residential and
retail areas, and the establishment of a commercial centre for high technology industries. A main
press centre and the Olympic village with accommodation for 10,000 athletes and team officials also
comes under the umbrella of the Olympic Park.

Recently completed major transport projects such as Sydney Harbor Tunnel, M4 and M5 Motor-
ways, and Glebe Island bridge, together with the major projects currently in progress, such as City
West Development, Ultimo-Pyrmont light rail system, Airport City Link, and the railway loop line to
link the Olympic Park with Sydney rail network's main western rail line, will ensure that an effective
transport system will be available for the Olympic Games.

During Sydney's bid, a campaign to register volunteers was conducted by the St George Bank which
attracted more than 100,000 people. Sydney will require 35,000 people from all walks of life to form
a volunteer workforce essential for the smooth running of the games.

Revenue for the games is expected primarily from television rights fees, sponsorships, coin
marketing royalties, licensing fees, and ticket sales.

It is estimated that during the period 1994-2004 the Olympics could add A$7.3 billion to Australia's
gross domestic product, create 150,000 full and part-time jobs, and bring an extra 1.3 million visitors
to Australia. In order to safeguard sponsorship fees and sponsors and licensees benefits from ambush
marketing, the New South Wales Government has legislated the Sydney 2000 Games (Indicia and
Images) Protection Bill 1996.

Definition of the project

The objective of the Sydney Olympic Games Program is to stage the year 2000 Olympic Games at
specified locations in Sydney. Although the New South Wales Government is underwriting the
project activities, there is no clearly defined client for the program. There are many stakeholders and
customers, including the citizens of New South Wales, the New South Wales Government, the
Australian people, the International Olympic Organisation, the international community as a whole,

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 2

the athletes, and Australian and international business communities. The scope of the project
comprises organising all the games and ceremonies, putting in place technology and resources
required to stage the games, public relations, and fundraising. Criteria for the success of the project
include trouble-free performance of the games, the level of public enthusiasm and enjoyment
generated by the activities and resultant sustained economic activity generated within New South
Wales and Australia, and continued interest in Olympic Games for the future.

SOCOG was appointed to manage the project by legislation. In addition to SOCOG there are other
organisations that directly contribute to the success of the games. International Olympic Committee,
Australian Olympic Committee, Sydney City Council, and Olympic Co-ordination Authority (New
South Wales Government) have been made party to the host city contract. Olympic Co-ordination
Authority is responsible for all the infrastructure projects, almost all of which are not being built
specifically for the Olympic Games. These projects are either already under way or are being re-
programmed to accommodate the games. Completion of these projects on time is vital to the success
of the Olympic Games. The general rule-of-thumb used by the Government has been to relocate
infrastructure projects initially external to the games under the games umbrella.

The infrastructure construction is the responsibility of the government and is overseen by the
Olympic Co-ordination Authority. To make matters more complicated, the scope of work of SOCOG
is restricted to organisation of the events. The games budget in nominal terms is A$I.84 7 billion (US
$1.4 billion).

There is an explicit need to control the cost of all its activities very carefully. Any major cost
overruns will alienate the public and will have adverse effects on the success of the games.

The project can be broken into the following major areas of work (as a work breakdown structure):

• Events
• Venues and facilities including accommodation
• Transport
• Media facilities and co-ordination
• Telecommunications
• Security arrangements
• Medical care
• Human resources including volunteers
• Cultural Olympiad
• Pre-games training
• Information-technology projects
• Opening and closing ceremonies
• Public relations
• Financing
• Test games and trial events
• Sponsorship management and control of ambush marketing

Each of these items could be treated as a project in its own right. Further, an enormous co-ordination
effort will be required to ensure these, and therefore, the entire games project, are delivered on time.

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 3

Critical project dimensions

Time is the most critical dimension of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games project. As the project must
be completed and ready for staging the Olympic Games on the stipulated dates, any shortcomings in
the time dimension will have to be offset by sacrificing the other two dimensions, namely: cost and
quality. However, performance on all three dimensions is vital for the success of the project.

Time dimension

Sydney is fortunate in having sufficient infrastructure capacity either existing or under construction
to cater for an event of this magnitude. It is anticipated that the infrastructure projects under
construction will be completed well in advance of the commencement of the Olympic Games. Any
delays in the completion dates could be accommodated without much difficulty. The criticality of the
time dimension applies mainly to other activities and timing of individual activities such as events,
opening and closing ceremonies, and so on. To ensure that the time dimension is achieved, the
Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games has adopted strategies such as: holding
frequent co-ordination meetings with the organisations and parties responsible for delivering the
required items, setting- target dates well in advance of the main event, designing test events, and
trialling events as milestones for the critical items.

For the construction projects, estimation of the time dimension should be relatively straightforward.
Expertise is available within the construction industry to produce reasonable estimates. Critical path
methods, precedence block diagrams, and program evaluation and review are employed to control
the uncertainties in the time dimension. Proper plans must be prepared for these construction
activities. All persons who may be affected by these programs should have an opportunity to
comment on the plan. Instruments should be put in place to monitor the progress against the program
continually. The program should include enough leeway or float to allow minor problems to be
accommodated without causing major changes to the timing of the overall program. Elements which
are expected to have most impact on the program must be identified and defined as early as possible,
and an adequate series of milestones must be established to allow monitoring of the progress of the

At this early stage of the program or the project life-cycle the time required to complete tasks for
particular events introduce uncertainties. These uncertainties are related to the nature of the tasks
involved. Some non-construction projects - such as developing software to monitor the games'
progress, establishing the games database and systems to disseminate the information to general
public - have larger uncertainties inherent in the system. Some new technologies may have to be
developed to adapt to the advances in the way the information is distributed to the public and media.
For example, the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games had a dedicated Internet facility to give the public
access to games information. Since Internet technologies are changing very rapidly, the way
information is given out to the public may also change in line with advances in technology. It is
difficult to predict what these advances may involve until much closer to the actual event.

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 4

Cost dimension

The cost estimates of the construction projects are not reflected in the games budget as the
infrastructure projects are undertaken outside the games project.

Sydney's games budget is based on conservative assumptions and estimates of games receipts and
payments. Receipts are mainly from television rights and international and local participation (8).
The financial planning process included:

• Consultations with both national and international experts in the fields relevant to both
receipts and payments;
• Consultations with the Barcelona organising committee, the international Olympic
committee, and the Australian Olympic committee;
• Review and analysis of results and budgets from previous games and bid candidature;
• Independent analysis of construction costs by quantity surveyors, rider hunt;
• Independent review of the estimates by auditors, Price Waterhouse.

The NSW Audit Office cost estimates appear to have been produced using appropriate
methodologies. However, even though the cost estimates were prepared using appropriate
methodologies it is necessary to develop strict cost control mechanisms in order to keep the overall
project costs to the minimum. It is worth noting that the major portion of the games budget is for the
events and ceremonies, and the nature of these programs is such that there are considerable
uncertainties inherent in these items. Further, the time and cost dimensions of these events are tightly
interrelated. Consequently, any slippage in timing of the programming, training, and testing of these
activities could lead to large cost escalations.

Due to the predicted rapid change in technology it is highly likely that there will be variations in
requirements or design. As a general rule, it is undesirable to allow too many such changes, since
they are a major source of cost escalation in any project and especially in projects such as this. Some
variations may be to a cost advantage, but this is the exception rather than the norm.

Cost escalations would lead to disillusionment among the public and would diminish the public
appeal of the games thus affecting public support and a vital source of volunteer games staff. Any
cost overrun will have to be met by the taxpayer, as the New South Wales Government has
underwritten the Host City Contract. This could also become a major political issue. Maintaining the
costs within budget is vital to the games' success.

Quality dimension

This is the most difficult dimension of the project to define. The quality is threefold:

• Good quality versus high quality

• Fit for purpose
• Conforming to the customer requirement

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 5

As part of the host city contract the International Olympic Committee has specified certain quality
requirements for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The New South Wales Government has specified
certain environmental guidelines that all Olympic ventures should follow. Within the public mind
there is also a concept of the level of quality and excellence the Olympic Games should achieve. The
SOCOG itself will set its own quality standards mainly in performing its duties. Sponsors will
demand a certain quality standard. Some of these standards are currently only at the conceptual
stage. As the project progresses through its lifecycle these standards need to emerge. Each program
component will have its own definition of quality and standards.

One of the major areas of quality which should not be underestimated nor forgotten is the aspect of
security. Responsibility for management of Olympic Games security lies with the Olympic Security
Planning and Implementation Group (OSPIG). It would appear that there is a significant weakness in
the security planning process in that it lacks co-ordinated project control. Rather than being
developed as a strategic program, activities are being undertaken as disparate tactical operations.
This has occurred because Olympic Security is being used to expand existing programs rather than
being managed as a separate program. The focus has been on integrating existing activities to
provide security for the games, rather than on developing an effective games security plan and then
integrating existing programs when practical.

Wherever there is public involvement in large projects, it is generally not sufficient to have good
quality or fit for purpose quality. The public demands very high quality standards. The quality of the
game events is likely to be judged by the absence of delays and clockwork precision with which the
public expects events to proceed. In the case of transport, quality is judged by lack of traffic jams and
holdups. The quality of security will be judged by perceived public safety and lack of incidents such
as terrorism.

In construction projects quality can be clearly defined, for example, as fit for purpose or conforming
to strict environmental guidelines. In projects such as the games there are difficulties in defining
quality particularly in the early stages of the development cycle.

Adoption of total quality management techniques in these programs could improve the quality of the
delivered Olympic Games. The essential ingredients of a total quality management system are:
quality of the product as the ultimate goal; quality management process; quality assurance systems;
and attitude.

Where clear specifications and well-defined standards are difficult to formulate, engaging
experienced personnel and experts may be particularly desirable. The product (e.g. events or
performances) should be thoroughly tested prior to the games, allowing ample time to make
necessary modifications at least cost.

A good management process is vital to the delivery of a high quality product. It is necessary to
establish milestones and set procedures for the management process to achieve quality.

As mentioned above, cost and quality are closely related. Quality comes at a price. This applies
particularly to a project like the Olympic Games when completion on time is critical, and the cost of
failure is extremely high for any of the items included in the project.

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 6

Only through closely controlled quality management processes and early identification of the
possibility of failure can the success of the program be ensured. Several safeguards have been put in
place both by the International Olympic Committee and the New South Wales Government to ensure
the delivery of the games is to an acceptable quality.


Good communications are vital t9 the success of the project and to effective control of all three
dimensions. Trial games and test programs will serve to control all three dimensions and should be
treated seriously. The planned trials in the coming years will be an excellent opportunity to monitor,
control, or correct any deficiencies in the project.


1. Explain why project scope management is critical to the Sydney 2000 project. Try to illustrate
your answer with other projects you may know about or have worked on yourself and draw
2. Discuss the concept of quality, with reference to what you consider the meaning of quality to be
for the Sydney 2000 project.
3. Explain why time management is critical to the Sydney 2000 project.

Created by Sanjay Khedwa 7