This taxonomy of delivery challenges cuts through ambiguity and overly broad concepts to achieve both analytical and practical value. It is based on an analysis of over 2,200 projects, an extensive literature review, and stakeholder consultations across multiple international organizations.


The taxonomy is a two-level hierarchy of delivery challenges. At the higher level 15 unique categories describe broad themes of delivery challenges across three dimensions: stakeholders, context, and project. Drilling down, 52 unique sub-categories present a more granular view of specific delivery challenges. This taxonomy was built on the strength of a three pronged approach: exhaustive literature review, advanced text analytics, and extensive practitioner consultations.

Literature Review

A review of over 160+ publications from development agencies, donors, research institutions, and academics was undertaken to develop a broad understanding of how delivery challenges are defined. This has helped in building the dimensions and categories across which challenges occur.

Text Analytics

Text analytics techniques, such as word clouds, cluster dendrograms, and K-means clusters were used on 2,200+ World Bank projects to identify Delivery Challenges categories and subcategories. These themes were further refined through an extensive manual review of 1000+ project reports by our team members.  

Practitioner Consultations

We carried out consultations with practitioners across sectors and organizations to identify additional challenges missing from project data because of lack of incentives to report. These consultations were also used to ground-truth the categories and gauge their usefulness.


Read through a detailed report on the validation process and the taxonomy itself to know more. For questions, comments, or suggestions contact us.