Project Management

Complicating the Project: When Simple Math Will Do

Paul has run a plethora of projects in multiple industries throughout his 20-year career, ranging from process improvement to agile to most recently cyber-security. Paul is also a reputable speaker, drawing practical and humorous conclusions from the "trenches" of his employers. Paul's dedication as a PM practitioner started decades ago, when he became one of the first 10,000 people to earn the PMP.

Perhaps you’ve had the recent experience of your teenager asking for help with math. It is likely that only those in professions that work with math on a daily basis (or better yet, hourly) can offer adequate assistance to our inquiring youth. Unless we are actuaries, engineers or in another profession that requires “higher order” mathematics, most math we learned in school has become locked away in our minds like fading school portraits stored in dusty, time-worn boxes.

Perhaps we excelled in math in school but choose not to make it the focus of our further educational or professional pursuits. Or, like many students, we were just not good at it and struggled through advanced math subjects such as geometry, trigonometry and calculus. Let’s throw statistics into the mix as well. Are you re-living the nightmares?

Yet like many professions, math creeps back into our standard project management responsibilities. Depending on the organization you work for and your propensity to quantify in performing your tasks, there’s no escaping some basic algebra and understanding of logic to thrive as a successful project manager today.

School children nowadays are smart enough to know that they’ll likely not use higher-order mathematics in the real world. Yet the response from parents and teachers is consistent and universal: These classes teach …


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