Pick up the Pace

Kate Rockwood

David Barbieri, PMP, knows how to put the pedal to the metal. When he was given 12 months to complete a construction project that would normally take 24, he didn't roll up his sleeves and start compressing the schedule straightaway. With his timeline cut in half, he doubled down on building a cohesive project team.

“I got a cross-functional group in a room together and challenged them: We start now and end here. How do you do it?” recalls Mr. Barbieri, an industrial project manager for Kemira, Louisville, Kentucky, USA. “It might mean a new process or more money, but everything is possible. If people really think it's not possible, I need them off the team.”

As innovation and business cycles accelerate across many sectors, organizations are scrambling to respond to shifting market demands. That can mean shorter, rapid-fire projects where time is of the essence.

Whether they're shaving three weeks off a two-month software development effort or three months off an 18-month construction phase, project managers must fine-tune their team motivation approach. The collaborative culture that might usually grow over a series of months has to be established in mere days. The project's strategic value must be immediately made clear—and used to motivate team members to stay highly engaged and productive. The frequency dial on check-ins…

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I think somebody should come up with a way to breed a very large shrimp. That way, you could ride him, then, after you camped at night, you could eat him. How about it, science?

- Jack Handey

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