January 19, 2018

Brexit as a Major Project

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By Hogweard (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In accordance with the result of the 23 June 2016 referendum, the UK Prime Minister signed a letter invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union on 28 March 2017. The letter was delivered to the President of the European Council the next day. This action formally triggered the Brexit process and initiated one of the largest and most important projects in recent UK history.

Brexit can be considered as a project in that it exhibits many classic project characteristics. Brexit has a single definable aim (UK to leave the EU) and multiple objectives. The UK and EU project managers and negotiators may have different objectives but for each side there are multiple objectives that define the project success criteria. Trade-offs will be required on both sides.

Brexit is certainly risky for both sides and the process is guaranteed to significantly and permanently change both the UK and EU. The planning and implementation processes will be carried out by multidisciplinary teams operating under conditions of change. Brexit has a finite lifespan in that the maximum period allowed for negotiations under Article 50 is two years, although this may be extended subject to mutual approval.

The UK Government has issued what is effectively a strategic project plan for Brexit.

The success of the UK Government negotiators in realising the plan will be evaluated in the short term at the end of the negotiating period and in the longer term by assessing the performance of the UK in the years following the eventual Brexit deal. It is unusual to encounter a project where the future of entire economic and political blocs is at stake.

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