Project Management

Not Every Problem Can Be Solved

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I’ve been involved in projects for a long time, and I’ve also had the privilege of working at fairly senior levels of organizations in many industries for quite some time. All of that experience has taught me a lot, but one thing I can never get used to is that projects are seen as being different from everything else an organization does. And nowhere is that more obvious than when it comes to solving problems. Let me give you an example of what I mean.

A few years ago, I was taking part in a planning exercise with all of my department head colleagues and the company CEO. We knew that the year ahead of us was going to be difficult and the CEO was pushing every department to try and do more than they thought possible. There was a lot of discussion around how that could be achieved, a lot of encouragement to think innovatively and to really challenge our teams.

But there was also a point where each of the department heads pushed back. A time when sales said “No, that’s just too much of a stretch.” Or where manufacturing said that the speed it was being asked to achieve would be too risky for the quality of the product. And the CEO accepted that (sometimes after discussion, but they accepted it).

Then we came to projects. As expected, I was asked to support more projects in total, more in parallel, and with more uncertainty than before. We …


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A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

- Fred Allen