Managing Projects on Mars

Kenneth has 14 years of healthcare experience in government and private industry. Over eight years of experience managing healthcare IT projects, operations, contracts, and personnel. His work experience includes project management, contracts and procurements, data analysis, claims adjudication, business writing, and business process modeling. Kenneth was certified in 2006 as a Project Management Professional.

In the movie John Carter (based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs), the titular hero travels to Mars where he must save the princess. Along the way he makes friends and enemies, gains the super power of jumping and helps fight a civil war on the red planet.

The scope of the work that John Carter engages in on Mars would be daunting to the best of project managers. During the movie, Carter must control the scope of what he needs to accomplish and engage and enlist stakeholders to participate in his project. Managing a project of that scope certainly gives project managers on Earth (who do not have the added benefit of low gravity) a few things to think about and a few lessons learned…

Capitalizing on Strengths
On Mars, Carter has to relearn how to walk due to the change in gravity. This circumstance gives him the ability to jump great distances as well as being able to lift heavier things than normal. It does not take him long to use these abilities to his advantage in the many trials and difficulties that come his way.

In the same way, project managers should recognize their own strengths and exploit them as much as possible. Whether that strength is a deep knowledge of the organization or technical abilities or something else, the project manager should never be afraid to capitalize on those abilities. If the project needs something that the project …

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- Oscar Wilde