Project Management

Big Agile, Big Ask

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.

Watercraft. There’s a huge variety of them from row boats to cruise liners, jet skis to supertankers.  And they all behave very differently, like amazingly differently. A jet ski can turn on a dime and accelerate and stop in no time flat. But a supertanker needs many miles to come to a stop and can only change direction very gradually. What’s this got to do with organizations and projects? Well, just like there are very different types of watercraft, there are very different types of organization.

There are those startups and small businesses that find it easier to change direction quickly. They may be captained, I mean run, by less experienced people in some cases, so the need to adapt and adjust may not always be recognized as quickly. But when they determine that a change in direction is needed, they can execute immediately. And then there are the massive multinational organizations that span multiple industries, markets and locations. They’re the supertankers of the corporate world—virtually unstoppable, but don’t expect them to shift quickly.

They can ignore many of the hazards that the jet ski rider (small business owner) must navigate, but when there is a major issue ahead, you had better hope they see it in plenty of time, because otherwise the implications can be catastrophic. And that’s now posing a challenge—not …

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