The Project Notebook

PM Innovation

One way in which Project Management is indispensible to business results is that it promotes and fosters innovation. When the project manager and the project team meet at the planning table to collaborate, special things can happen. It won’t happen every project, and it cannot be forced, but with the right time and encouragement, the project team will see its way clear to change.

Take the most recent “Project of the Year”, the Rocky Mountain Flats Closure. This former nuclear plant and arsenal was considered the worst of the worst — the most contaminated superfund site. The project team came up with innovations that completed the project 60 years and $30 billion under what was originally thought to be needed to clean up a site like this. Hundreds of buildings were demolished and decontaminated, tons of weapons grade radioactive materials were removed, and thousands of acres were decontaminated. While some of the land will remain radioactive for decades, much of it has been rendered sufficiently safe to extend a wildlife refuge which is home to at least one endangered species.

With results like this, its no wonder the federal Office of Management and Budget has mandated that all government projects will be guided by professional project managers beginning in 2008. While you cannot mandate innovation, having the right people to guide projects and plan them appropriately will increase the chances of having a project with better than average results.

The project manager of the Rocky Mountain Flats Closure project will be at the PMI, San Diego conference in September. You might want to consider dropping in to hear the full story.

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