Life or Death Project Management

Posted on January 18, 2010 by

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Recent headlines have portrayed the absolute devastation in Haiti due to Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Countries and aid groups are scrambling to get aid and supplies to the victims. Most people killed in an earthquake die within 72 hours of the quake, so time is of the essence. A project to provide aid as quickly as possible during disasters such as this requires excellent project management technique. There isn’t time to write a lengthy project management plan or have a project charter signed by a bevy of stakeholders. Even though one can’t predict exactly when a where a major disaster will occur, hopefully people have already outlined a plan in enough detail that it is ready to be executed. Because that is the key here—execution, execution, execution. Having people in charge who have clear authority to make decisions and are not weighed down by committee decisions, unimportant paperwork, unnecessary approvals, and bureaucracy can speed up the project’s ability to meet its goals. For project managers who have managed critical projects, what do you view as necessary for meeting urgent deliverables?