Project Management

Project Management ‘Impossibilities’: Running the PM Marathon

PMI New Jersey Chapter

Joshua is a retired USN Submarine Officer who has successfully executed projects in multiple industries across the globe.

Running a race is easy, right? You get up early on a Saturday morning, lace up your sneakers, get in line and go. You eventually get to the end and cross the finish line. Easy day.

Now, let’s be realistic. Every runner, cyclist, swimmer or other flavor of endurance athlete spends a significant period of time before “game day” preparing. Diet, training, equipment and planning are all necessary to be a successful athlete.

The same holds true for effective project management. Understanding limitations, challenges, resourcing, scope and scheduling are all critical elements in preparing to execute a project. As a project manager, it is essential to prepare the team for success. And even with extensive and exhaustive planning, problems are unavoidable and should be expected.

But what if the project encounters problems of such magnitude that the project “goes off the rails”? What if all that planning didn’t account for potential problems or conflicts that have a major impact, and now the project is in trouble because it’s over budget and behind schedule—and there doesn’t seem to be a way out? Often, this puts the project manager in what is perceived as an “impossible” situation.

Typically, when major project issues are encountered, the viewpoint from stakeholders is, “You should have been better …

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