When Passion Meets Project Management

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by Cyndee Miller

After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, many—including me—wondered if the storied city would ever be the same. Slowly but surely, citizens, companies and non-profits began to rebuild.

One of the most ambitious efforts was Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System’s Project Legacy. The decade-long, US$1 billion project resulted in a state-of-the-art healthcare center serving some 40,000 veterans.

That fighting spirit was honored last night when it was named Project of the Year.

“New Orleans is a beautiful city full of culture and this hurricane devastated it. But it did not destroy its soul,” said Fernando Rivera as he accepted the award at the PMI 2018 Professional Awards Gala.

Yet passion alone didn’t get this project across the finish line. “We couldn’t have done it without the principles and skills of project management,” he said.

Mr. Rivera didn’t leave the stage without acknowledging the outstanding work of the other two finalists:

Poor roads, impassable bridges, a site located 620 miles (1,000 kilometers) from the nearest port and the worst economic recession in Brazil’s history. Let’s just says Fibria faced its fair share of hurdles as it expanded its hardwood pulp production facility in Três Lagoas, Brazil.

The project to deliver the industry’s first forest-to-port pulp operation wrapped two months early, nearly US$500 million under budget and with no serious accidents among workers. It also provided a huge economic boost to the community, creating more than 40,000 temporary gigs and 3,000 long-term jobs. And by incorporating big data, machine learning and automation, the project gives Fibria an edge on the innovation front, too.

The other finalist was McDonald’s Digital Acceleration project, an aggressive tech play—especially for such an established player—that put customers in charge of how they wanted to order and pay. It all started in March 2017, when the fast food behemoth’s president and CEO vowed to company shareholders that the chain would deploy mobile order and pay in 20,000 restaurants by the end of the year.

The team not only beat the deadline by a month, but it delivered the project nearly US$10 million under budget. And the response was massive. Within months of the project’s launch, the app had racked up 30 million downloads and 110 million redeemed offers in the U.S. alone.

It wasn’t just the big-budget projects racking up kudos. Attendees also got a look at this year’s PMI Award for Project Excellence winners (which all had budgets less than US$100 million):

University Health Network created standardized, timely and meaningful electronic discharge summaries for its 35,000 annual patients across a Canadian healthcare system.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions excavated, consolidated and covered massive amounts of ash and contaminated soil alongside a closed coal-fired power plant in the U.S.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland rolled out a new online platform to replace its paper-based system used to track physicians’ progress across 36 medical competencies.

Want more? PM Network will take a deeper dive into all the project action over the next few months. Plus, you can check out video case studies on PMI’s YouTube channel.

Posted by Cyndee Miller on: October 07, 2018 09:20 PM | Permalink

Comments (11)

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Good sharing!!!

Thanks for sharing, Cyndee! Congratulations for Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System’s Project team!

Congratulations to the project management stars! Delivering IT projects under-budget is remarkable achievement , as scope is likely to change in the IT environment.

Thanks Cyndee.

Congrats to the winners, excellent projects

Great, thank you for sharing!

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