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Project Collapses
By Kerry Wills

This year in Connecticut we are breaking records for snowfall amounts. We have received over 80 inches of snow in just over one month. In the last few weeks, every day on the news we hear about several roofs collapsing under the weight of the snow and ice. This got me thinking about how projects sometimes collapse under the weight of their own issues and problems.

The Structure: Projects, like houses, are set up with a certain amount of infrastructure that they can support. This is usually a result of the strength of the team members on the project including the Project Management team. This infrastructure also includes processes and tools for managing the projects.

The Weight: Projects are usually pretty good at standing on their own. What happens, though, is that unplanned issues and problems arise (such as a big snowstorm) which adds weight to the project and puts stress on the infrastructure. Like this year’s winter, sometimes projects will continue to get issues arise that pile on top of each other until eventually it all comes crashing down.

As Project Managers, we need to be fully conscious of how stable our “houses” are including where any weak points may exist. These are risks which need to be identified and managed. We also need to monitor the amount of issues that we have and look to clear them before more arise and pile up too high.

I never used to pay attention to roofs before and now when I drive down the street I look at them and think to myself how stable they look or how much longer they can hold the heavy ice. This is a mindset that we need to take into our projects so we are conscious of our project infrastructure and how much strain is being put on it. If we clear the snow a little at a time and as it arrives, then we shouldn’t have any problems.

Kerry Wills is a proven Program Manager/Portfolio Manager with an extensive background in Project Management, consulting, and application development. Kerry has consistently demonstrated the ability to plan and implement large and complex projects on time and on/under budget. Kerry runs a blog, Adventures in Project Management.

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