PM History Lessons: The Jeep

PMI Southern Nevada Chapter

Paul is an information technology professional, project manager, instructor and author with 28 years experience.

In the summer of 1940, with Germany winning the war in Europe and Japan rising in Asia, the U.S. Army initiated a procurement of a revolutionary vehicle prototype that would help win World War II and endure for 70 years — a project which has lessons to teach us today.

Many historical events and milestones meet the definition of a project as a “temporary endeavor with a defined beginning and end that is undertaken to meet unique goals and objectives, which will typically bring about beneficial change or added value.” The goal of the Project Management Lessons from History series is to provide practical knowledge applicable to today’s projects while exploring some history along the way.  

In the summer of 1940, the United States Army was rated 28th in the world, just behind Bulgaria. Traditional demobilization following World War I, coupled with deep budget cuts during the Great Depression, had left the United States woefully unprepared to meet the dual threats from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. During May and June 1940 Nazi Germany defeated France, employing a new form of mobile warfare named Blitzkrieg (lightning war).  

The U.S. Army quickly realized it was completely outclassed by the new German tactics and, while Franklin Roosevelt campaigned for an unprecedented third term as President of the United States on a platform of keeping …

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I watched the Indy 500, and I was thinking that if they left earlier they wouldn't have to go so fast.

- Steven Wright

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