Identification of early warning signs in front-end stage of projects, an aid to effective decision making

Sara Haji-Kazemi, Bjørn Adnersen, Hans Petter Krane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most of the critical decisions are made in the front-end stage of projects. This is due to high level of uncertainty in this stage (both negative and positive uncertainty) and at the same time the high potential for corrective actions and reducing consequences of possible negative impacts. On the other hand the prerequisites of a project's success include those aspects which should be in order and those matters that need to be attended to in the initial phases of the project. At this stage, attempting to detect early warning signals of possible future problems can be an aid to making the right decisions and ensuring the existence of crucial requirements. The earlier the warning signals are identified, the more time will be available for taking appropriate corrective actions before the negative consequences of a problem show up. This article suggests that it can help to introduce new insights to adding early warning identification as part of the management process in the front-end stage of projects. A case study on the Norwegian High Speed Railway project, which is currently in its front-end stage, is done in order to better illustrate the key points of this research. This will be done through an analysis on the possible early warning signs which can be detected in this stage and showing how this can contribute to a more effective decision making process for the project.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-222
Number of pages11
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2013


  • early warning
  • project front-end stage
  • uncertainty
  • decision making


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