Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

How do projects grow? How do they fail? What accounts for their changing fortunes? This paper uses the archives of a 1970s modernisation scheme to explore the life cycle of a long-running project, concerning the production of leaf protein in Nigeria. It argues that archives can be very useful for understanding success and failure, and encourages practitioners to take an interest in the story of past projects, even those that failed. Drawing on Actor-Network Theory, it argues that alliances are key to understanding project lifecycles, suggesting that practitioners focus on strengthening local relationships, rather than seeking answers in universal management templates.

More information


Journal article

Publication Date



24 (7)


785 - 796