Buy shares in a megaproject

by ryan_b 1 min read16th Jan 201910 comments


I think we should create a separate legal construct for megaprojects.

I recently wrote about megaproject management here. In the outline for Oxford's Major Programme Management program, the first module is described in this way:

Develop your understanding of major programmes as a governance structure and distinctive organisational form. In the context of programme performance, consider and reflect on organisational theory and design.

The basic concept is that instead of a normal corporation, it would operate like a corporation with an expiration date and the project goals baked into the governance. We want "on-time and on-budget" to take the place of "growth and revenue" in the new organization's decision making.

  • We can buy stock in corporations, which now live ~16 years and declining.
  • Megaprojects like the Big Dig (16 years of construction) and the F-35 development (26 years to production) are easily in the range of normal corporations
  • Currently the only way to bet for or against the megaproject is to bet on the corporations/creditors/etc.
  • This would allow us to specifically invest in, or bet against, the project.
  • We invest in time-limited financial assets like bonds, puts and options already.

Consider the Boring Company. If one of those projects is a terrible idea, we are stuck with adjusting our position on the company as a whole, which means the terrible project puts the others in jeopardy.

By contrast, if the megaprojects were all separate entities and the Boring Company was hired to manage all of them, we could then bet on Boring Company and all of the projects independently of each other.

It seems to me that this would do a pretty good job resolving a lot of the problems that plague megaprojects currently.