Project Management

PM Obstacles: Firefighting

Vicki Wrona, PMP

Many organizations live in perpetual ‘fire-fighting’ mode, a space in which short-term results often supersede long-range plans and strategies. While this can certainly make it more difficult to fully realize the benefits of sound project management practices, there are techniques to accommodate a ‘high-drama’ culture throughout the project lifecycle.

Recent research has documented the value of project management at various levels and in a variety of organizations. In their research study Researching the Value of Project Management , Janice Thomas, Ph.D., and Mark Mullaly, PMP, found that in both public and private organizations there were measurable improvements in productivity and business outcomes. Well-executed project management that fits within the culture of the organization creates repeatable processes that can lead to sustainable innovation through ever-improving efficiency. It improves communication between business units, improves the quality of the product and perceived value, manages risks, and reduces cost.

For leaders, it is much easier to report to stakeholders the good news that results from project management than the bad news that emerges without it.

For some organizations, however, those benefits aren’t realized. The challenge to effective project management may stem from issues within the culture rather than with the skill of the …


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