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A/A personnel had tremendous technological expertise, along with a solid mastery of project-management tools and means. They also possessed the knowledge required to manage work processes: they knew how to come up with good business solutions. Their employees were particularly skilled in using software for presentations, leading groups and quickly finding documentation. Moreover, the firm had access to extensive external resources through subcontracting. Its staff was also very young, brimming with energy and, above all, highly productive. Their enthusiasm was infectious.

Thus the private partner had all the human and financial resources, along with the expertise required to make the project a success, which it did. But in the opinion of Department officials2, A/A underestimated the magnitude of the project, which itself was poorly understood by the firm’s management. The project’s lack of internal visibility apparently had some effect on the allocation of the human and technical resources required for the project. Some members of management failed to understand that there was no ready-made solution to the Department’s problems, and a custom-made one had to be created. Others were reluctant to allocate resources to a project with no guaranteed revenue, because the formula for performance-based contracts was unfamiliar or unknown. This led to numerous changes in project management on the private partner’s side. The manager at HRD-NB had to deal with as many as four counterparts from A/A. The project too suffered from the high turnover rate in A/A personnel: a lot of knowledge acquired along the way was lost and additional costs had to be incurred for the outside experts to stay longer.

2A/A Representatives refused to allow their employees to participate in this study; the views expressed therefore reflect the perceptions of HRD-NB officials.