The Project Notebook

Survivor: Maui

Aloha! Here I am in the tiki torch light of Mama’s Fish House in Paia — one of my last vacation stops before returning to the mainland. After two days at home it was out on the road to an out-of-state client. Eight plane flights, a helicopter tour, and multiple ear-popping drives (Haleakala is over 10,000 feet) really did a number on my sinuses, but now I’m rested, relaxed, and ready to dig in again. Of course I was always on the lookout for stories to bring home from Maui as well.

As project managers, we’re all innovators who help guide project teams to getting the job done. I couldn’t find a better illustration of cooperation and innovation than this photo. These are the cliffs of Moloka’i, one of the two islands of Maui. Moloka’i claims the record for the world’s tallest sea cliffs on its north shore and the picture shows just a small portion of them. What’s of more interest though is in the lower left hand corner. You will see a complete home — quite the project for this 38 mile stretch of high sea cliffs.

The children who grow up here are home schooled — there’s no school bus and the only way to civilization is by a long hike up the cliffs or by boat. The owners started building a shack with materials they backpacked to the area. A helicopter landed one day to check out what they were doing, and offered to fly in everything they needed if the pilot could store tanks of fuel (there is still no helicopter fuel available on Molokai according to my pilot). Since that time, the pilot and the homesteaders have maintained a mutually agreeable relationship. This is innovation at its finest!

By the way, can you imagine being a child in Hawaii and asked to name the state fish? Although the designation lasted for only five years, most Hawaiians still consider the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (rectangular triggerfish) to the best state fish (there are more than 15 contenders all unique to the islands). Contrast this with the Nene, the Hawaiian goose and state bird with the simple four character name!

Over the coming weeks, as part of the blog improvements planned, I’m going to focus for a while on control of project costs and risks. Expect to see more hard hitting tips, tools, and templates. I don’t want to give away all the secrets, but in late September or early October, I’m going to give away a complete PMP® Exam Prep course, including a book, exam simulation CD, and “cheat” sheet. I also have a “cheat” sheet for a runner-up, so be sure and stay tuned for how to enter the giveaway! More big plans over the weeks to come, so be sure to come back! Mahalo!

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© 2010-2012 Ray W. Frohnhoefer, MBA, PMP, CCP