Chilean Mining Rescue Miracle—A Program Success

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff.
“Viva Chile!” We watched with awe, soaring hearts, and huge appreciation for the rescuers when the first miners emerged from their rescue capsule. We held off posting or celebrating project success until all the miners—and their rescuers—were safely above ground. Now, we’ll study the backstories about the after-effects of 69 days underground. And, we can reflect on the magnificent Project Management performances of each participant in this most-watched rescue.

Just look at the many heroes, talented team members, inspiring leaders and willing families and pride-full citizens. They were all focused on one objective: Get our miners out safely. And it appears our entire World is the stakeholder group. Reports continue to surface that this is one of the most-watched web-broadcasted events in history. This showed leaders and team members working in synch to successfully manage one of the most-important projects in recent history. Ironically, IPMA has been working to certify competent Project Managers and Senior Project Managers in Chile. Here is a great opportunity to identify Chile’s own clearly competent and performing end-to-end project managers. Most of the rescue team leaders could probably qualify for Senior Project Manager certification, demonstrating mastery in complex projects.

Was This A Project?

But was this a project? Two answers: Yes, of course it was, because the team changed the path of fate, inertia, and the status quo. That feat is what the practice of competent project management brings to society. And no, not just a project, it was an entire complex program, consisting of many projects. Some of the projects were relatively simple, such as providing sufficient electrical power at this remote site. And some very complex. All the projects worked together to achieve the program goal: Get our miners out safely.

Repeatedly, the media has mentioned the flawless planning, the contingency actions, and the attention to crucial details. We have noted the exquisite performance of the plan, and the individual heroics that accentuate success. The tributes note the combination of technical aspects of project and program management with the contextual and behavioral aspects. This program of related projects will serve case studies for years after our starring miners have recovered from their ordeal. And what shall be the highlights of those case studies?

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What Is a PMO, and What Flavor Is Yours?

PM Commentary by Stacy Goff.
What is a PMO?
A Project Management Office is a formal or informal group that accepts responsibility for governance of one or more Projects. Or, rather than governance, it may provide support and/or mentoring, with the purpose of improving PM Performance. Similar groups can perform these functions for Programs, although those are usually more formal, with more authority. 

What brings this topic to our blog at this time is the PMO Symposium 2009, November 8-10 in Atlanta, GA. It was produced by the PMI® PMO SIG (Program Management Office Specific Interest Group). This event was one of your best opportunities this year to tap into the burgeoning world of effective PMOs.

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