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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Culture’s Cogs – Feedback

Synopsis: Feedback is the mechanism that keeps a culture alive...  This post is part 4 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 In the two prior parts of this blog series we looked at the role "imperatives" and "expectations" play in giving rise to a culture. In this final post we'll look at how feedback is the link that keeps a culture alive. Feedback is the interaction between people that tells them whether or not expectations are being achieved. Feedback can eit...
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I, We, You, Me – Observations on Team Dynamics

As with most Project Managers, I've worked directly with a lot of people and a lot of teams. As an instructor I've observed and coached even more. I've seen good teams and I've seen dysfunctional teams and over the years I've tried to understand what makes some teams work while others don't. Why do some teams gel so quickly while others never click? Why do some teams transcend individual efforts to perform as a whole, while others remain ineffectual? Why do some teams become lifelong friends and...
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Culture’s Cogs – Expectations

Synopsis: Expectations are the medium through which a culture propagates. Expectations can be set through words, use of benchmarks and through actions. This post is part 3 in the Cultures Cog's series of posts. Click here for - Part 1 If a culture is to propagate it needs a medium through which to flow. As suggested in the culture's cog diagram shown in part 1 of this series, expectations are a vehicle through which cultural norms are transferred from leader to team and peer to peer. In th...
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Culture’s Cogs – Imperatives

Synopsis: Imperatives are the core values of the management team and the foundation stones of corporate culture. To influence corporate culture, leaders need to bring clarity and consistency to their imperatives. This post is part 2 in the Cultures Cog’s series of posts. Click here for – Part 1 As a follow up to my discussion on the topic of "culture's cogs" I thought I would dive a bit deeper into each of the cogs. In this post I'll explore the issue of imperatives. As noted in my origina...
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Culture’s Cogs

Synopsis: Imperatives, expectations and feedback are the mechanisms through which management's desire for high performance are translated into a functioning corporate culture. Regular readers will know that I've been studying corporate cultures over recent months. My goal is to understand how corporate cultures come to be and what management teams can do to shape positive cultures (i.e. cultures that improve quality and productivity while simultaneously lifting employee engagement, morale and...
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Everything is (not always) Awesome

Synopsis: Feedback to staff is a critical tool management can use to shape corporate culture  This year's Lego Movie spawned the song that has turned into something of an Internet meme. Likely to be 2014's most cheerful tune, the "Everything is Awesome" song tells us that we shouldn't worry about the negatives in life, instead we should focus on the positives. While that happy-go-lucky message lifts spirits and is fun, from a business perspective the song's message is something of a trap that...
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IBM

The following entry is a record in the “Catalogue of Catastrophe” – a list of failed or troubled projects from around the world. IBM (International Business Machines) - USA Project type : Organizational performance improvement and strategic realignment Project name : Roadmap 2015 Date : 2010-2014  Cost : Unknown Synopsis : Most of the projects noted in the catalogue were aimed at producing some form of product or tangible deliverable. IBM’s “Roadmap 2015” initiative is a little dif...
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The Vanishing Visionary

The following entry is a part of the Pattern Library.  The Pattern Library illustrates some of the common patterns of events that have the potential to lead to project failure. Name : Vanishing Visionary (aka dump and run) In brief : A Project Sponsor conceptualizes and initiates a project, but fails to follow through to ensure successful delivery. They provide the vision, assign the project to a Project Manager (dump) and then wash their hands of any further responsibility for the pr...
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Desperate for Done

The following entry is a part of the Pattern Library. The Pattern Library records the common patterns of events that have the potential to lead to project failure. Name : Desperate for done Scope : Behavioral pattern (patterns that influence the actions of an individual or group) Outline : Tracking the status of tasks is a key responsibility for the Project Manager. As part of that responsibility, Project Managers interact with the team to monitor the completion of each individual ac...
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