Spotting a leader

Synopsis -  Effective 'leaders' know what quality is and feel a sense of responsibility for achieving quality.  If a person waffles, waivers or avoids discussing quality, chances are they will not make an effective leader. It's pretty clear that project success rates are higher where projects have effective leadership and lower where there was either no leader, or where those in the leadership roles didn't discharge their duties effectively.  Effective leaders align people, focus people a...
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Teddy bear madness

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world. Build-a-Bear Workshop – USA & Canada Project type : Sales promotion Date : Jul 2018 Cost : Undeclared repetitional damage Synopsis : It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of an idea and in doing so miss important issues that lie just below the surface. In a marketing campaign gone awry, US based 'Build-a-Bear Workshop' gained world-wide attentio...
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British Columbia – First time home buyers loan program

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. BC Provincial Government – Canada Project name : British Columbia Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program Project type : Government backed loan program to help first time buyers enter the real estate market Date : Cancelled Dec 2018 Cost : Unknown Synopsis : Between 2002 and 2017 residential property prices in the city of Vancouver, Canada w...
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A380 – Take two

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Airbus SAS – France Project name : A380 Project type : Commercial aircraft development Date : Feb 2019 Cost : Undeclared, but certainly in the billions of dollars in lost opportunity and other costs. Synopsis : An old Danish proverb (sometimes incorrectly attributed to Yogi Berra) quips that "It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the fu...
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Agile’s Achilles heel

From its birth in the software development community, the idea of ‘agility’ has risen in prominence to the point where organizations of all shapes and forms are now leveraging agile principles (or at least trying to).  Since being conceptually formalized in the 2001 ‘agile manifesto’ the ideas have matured to the point where agile practices have worked their way into the mainstream of the Project Management Institute’s PMBoK® Guide. As I’ve written about a number of times, agile concepts are ...
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Pink Uniforms

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world. US Department of Defense – USA Project type : Military aid Date : Jun 2017 Cost : $28M Synopsis : The United States spends a significant amount of aid money supporting the military of allied countries. With the aim of stabilizing nations and ensuring global security, money is poured into training, equipment and consulting services. A significant amount of t...
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Yes we can!

Synopsis: People can be productive! What most often holds them back is management's failure to take ownership of the concept of "efficiency"... It is amazing how fast humans can respond to a situation when they need to!  A recent story from Japan helps illustrate the point. When a 30M wide sinkhole destroyed a road in Fukuoka, Japan, the problem was resolved and the road fully repaired in just 7 days. As the video below illustrates this was no minor pothole. This was a 15M deep crater that cu...
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International Donor Agencies – Africa

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world. International Donor Agencies – Africa Project type : Boreholes and wells (developing community water sources) Date : Jul 2016 Cost : $360M Synopsis : One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) is to increase access to clean water and sanitation facilities for communities that currently lack such facilities. In many rural areas of sub Saharan Africa...
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Jacques Cartier Champlain Bridge Corporation

Following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed and troubled projects from around the world. Jacques Cartier Champlain Bridge Corporation – Canada Project type : Highway overpass construction Date : Oct 2016 Cost : $11M CAD Synopsis : Taxpayers often feel that their hard earned dollars aren't being respected by the government officials charged with spending those dollars. In a story that feeds into that narrative, the city of Montreal has recently co...
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Phoenix Failing

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Department of Public Works and Government Services - Canada Project type : New payroll system Project name : Phoenix Date : Jul 2016 Cost : $50M Synopsis : A Phoenix is supposed to rise from the flames. Instead of rising, Canada's new federal government payroll system (called Phoenix) seems to be stuck firmly in the flames. According to reports from the ...
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