Iowa Caucus

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Democratic Party of Iowa – USA Project type : Election vote tally system Date : Feb 2020 Cost : A major embarrassment Synopsis : Looking for a way to embarrass yourself on election night - There's an app for that! With the world watching, the first tentative steps towards America's November 2020 Presidential election were taken in the school hall...
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Customs and Border Protection

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Department of Homeland Security – USA Project type : Staff recruitment Date : Apr 2019 Cost : $23M to hire 22 new staff Synopsis : In 2016, as part of the USA's renewed focus on border security, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) was charged with increasing the number of border agents who secure the nation's points of entry. The goal was to ...
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Boeing 737-MAX

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization : Boeing Commercial Airplanes Project name : 737-MAX Project type : Commercial aircraft design Date : Apr 2019 Cost : 346 lives lost Synopsis : Designing and building today's commercial aircraft must be among the most complex projects in the modern age. The two leading players in the industry are America's Boeing Commercial Airplanes a...
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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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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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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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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 : $2B + 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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St Helena Airport

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization: Department for International Development (DfID) - UK Project type : New airport Date : Jun 2016 Cost : £285 million Synopsis : Wind shear is one of the most deadly atmospheric conditions an aircraft can hit. A significant and rapid change in wind speed, or direction, over a very short distance, wind shear is especially dangerous when it happ...
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Flint Michigan – Water

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. Organization: Flint Michigan Municipality Project type : Municipal water supply Date : Apr 2014 to May 2016 (ongoing at time of writing) Cost : Unknown for now, but potentially in the billions. Synopsis : In the most powerful nation on earth you would assume that if you're in a major city, it would be safe to drink the tap water. If you're in Flint Michig...
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