Project Abandonment in Nigeria and DUCAP Methodology

CIPMN and DUCAP Methodology is possibly Nigeria’s solution to persistent project failure and abandonment


Inemi Stephen

8/12/20213 min read

Project Abandonment in Nigeria

It is a sad feature that the Nigerian project landscape is littered with about 56,000 failed or abandoned projects. All were commissioned by various Nigerian administrations as far back as 1962 to present day. One prominent issue is that administrations are not held accountable for project completion or abandonment. New administrations initiate new projects without consideration of the pending or ongoing projects.

From railroads to steel mills, highways to airports and many more, these abandoned projects all have a combined estimated value of about 17 Trillion Naira and projection of more than 30 years duration required to complete them. This figure is incredibly more than the Nigerian Federal Government budget for 2 years!

It is more disheartening that majority of these projects if completed, would be done at costs exceeding several times the initial budget and even when completed, the projects would be obsolete by the delivery time. Such a colossal waste can not be sustained while the country is burdened by unemployment, wide-spread poverty and underdevelopment.

It is often argued that organized corruption in government, interference and forceful takeover are some of the major reasons for this ugly trend. However research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria (CIPMN) has shown that while corruption plays a role, a more significant factor for project failure and abandonment in Nigeria is the lack of, and non-adherence to proven project management methodology during the initiation, planning, execution and monitoring of the project. Even in cases where project management methodology is applied, these methodology are not well suited for the uniqueness of the Nigerian project environment.

CIPMN Mandate

CIPMN among other things, is saddled with the responsibility of supervising, regulating, training and licensing all project management practitioners operating in Nigeria, and most importantly, prohibit non-CIPMN certified members from being appointed to head any project management team of any organization in Nigeria both in the private and public sector. To be able to do this, CIPMN will periodically organize and train project managers and project team members on relevant project management methodology with respect to the clime.

What is Project Management and Project Management Methodology?

Project management in simple terms is a critical practice that applies knowledge of process, skills, tools, deliverables, and techniques to project activities to ensure a solid path to project success by meeting goals and requirements. While a project management methodology is essentially a set of guiding principles and processes for managing a project.

There are lots of project management types, but 7 primary ones that are used the most often are;

Waterfall Project Management.

Agile Project Management.

Scrum Project Management.

Kanban Project Management.

Lean Project Management.

Six Sigma Project Management.

PRINCE2 Project Management.

These methodologies have been proven to be successful in delivering projects worldwide. However, some elements of these methodologies are not well suited for the Nigerian environment.

After years of research in the background, the Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria (CIPMN), taking into consideration the uniqueness of the Nigerian social, cultural, political and religious diversity produced a project management methodology called DUCAP (Delivering Unified Controlled Agile Projects)DUCAP was officially unveiled on the 3rd of December 2020 by the Governing Council of CIPMN after years of research, development and consultation by industry experts, academics, government agencies, private sector stakeholders and the governing council of CIPMN.


DUCAP holds the promising vision that the application of its unique project management methodology will ensure that the Nigerian projects landscape will begin to witness a new light of project success and delivery.

Although DUCAP is still in its infancy, the robustness of the methodology lies in the incorporation and recognition of the peculiarities of Nigeria such as the sociocultural, religious, political and multi- ethnic diversity into project planning, the consideration of local content framework, the introduction of a project sustainability plan, project justification and project vision as critical aspects that have to be justified as feasible, to warrant project approval in the first instance. It is not just foreign-knowledge based, but a product of thousands of man hours of research by Nigerian professionals designed for Nigeria specifically.

DUCAP methodology is a modification of the agile methodology- where each project life cycle is composed of several iterations or incremental steps towards the completion of a entire project.

Iterative approach in project management is often preferred by Project Managers as it promotes velocity and adaptability. Thus the major benefit of iteration is that you can adjust as you go along rather than following a linear path.

One of the aims of DUCAP’s agile and segmentation approach is to release benefits or deliverables before the entire project is completed, representing a total overhaul of the way projects are delivered in Nigeria.

It is hoped that adherence to DUCAP methodology, backed by its enabling legislature will usher in a new era of successful projects delivery particularly in Nigeria and Africa in general. If all government projects are planned, managed and executed by DUCAP-practicing and CIPMN-certified project managers, the future of project delivery in Nigeria is expected to have a positive outlook.

The challenge and focus is now on CIPMN to deliver on its promises and get DUCAP’s guiding principles to be implemented and operational as soon as possible on future projects in Nigeria. This could just be the much needed turn around the country needs to forestall project abandonment and failure.