The introduction of project management is increasingly perceived as a response to the declining performance of governments and ineffective programs. The goal of this article is to identify barriers to the implementation of project management tools in a local government in Kazakhstan and develop solutions for their mitigation. In-depth interviews and document analysis were utilized as research methods. Overall, the adoption of project management was evaluated as poor. The analysis uncovered four major hindering factors. The first barrier was an ineffective change strategy when bringing about this reform. Secondly, it was revealed that real changes in the government’s management approaches were overshadowed by technical aspects of the project management adoption policy. Thirdly, project management methods were not tailored to the specifics of the government. The final obstacle was the ill-conceived distribution of responsibilities among government employees, which caused coordination and interaction issues. This paper contributes to the empirical enhancement of the existing body of knowledge on management reforms in the public sector.
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