The PM Olympics

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the next few weeks the world’s attention will be on London, England for the Olympics, a celebration of all that is great in athletic achievement from the headline events in track and field to the almost ignored modern pentathlon. That got me to thinking…isn’t it about time for a project management Olympics? I mean, if modern pentathlon (and BMX biking!) can make it into the real thing, then surely there must be some opportunities for PMs to demonstrate their prowess.

So what would some of the events be in a PM Olympics? There would be some obvious ones--the 1,000-line schedule build to demonstrate the capability of a PM to build an accurate schedule from a complex set of inputs. That one could actually result in multiple gold medals--shortest critical path, best resource utilization rates, easiest to interpret Gantt chart and so on. In this article, I’m going to offer a few thoughts on what some of the events might be in the “PM Olympics”--and what kind of performance would earn the medals. It’s a lighthearted attempt to write to a topical theme, but there’s a serious point to it--if your PM skills aren’t medal worthy, then perhaps you need to train a little harder to become truly world class!

The events
To kick off the 2012 PM Olympics, we’re going to have the always popular business purpose target …

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"Impartial observers from other planets would consider ours an utterly bizarre enclave if it were populated by birds, defined as flying animals, that nevertheless rarely or never actually flew. They would also be perplexed if they encountered in our seas, lakes, rivers and ponds, creatures defined as swimmers that never did any swimming. But they would be even more surprised to encounter a species defined as a thinking animal if, in fact, the creature very rarely indulged in actual thinking."

- Steve Allen

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