If you were the PM of the debt crisis project

What would you do? Stakes are high – raising the current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. Time is short and almost non negotiable, has to be done by August 2nd. America’s triple-A rating is at stake and a potential stock market plunge. There is grave threat that America will take a big blow to its international stature.

Who would be your stakeholders – Congress, the Senate, President of the United States, the people of the Unites States of America, and the world? A tough crowd to please. Events are developing fast and your team is under tremendous pressure.

There are so many hidden agenda’s – both political parties are jockeying for a political win, next year’s Presidential election is on their minds, the Tea Party has it’s own priorities. Seems like an impossible situation.

If you were the project manager of this project, how would you manage it? Things are changing every minute and you don’t even know if you the tasks on your project plan are right. An incredible amount of activity and work is being done going into the wee hours of the morning. Your team is tired, yet the job is not complete.

Now think back on your projects – any projects that fit these characteristics – a fixed date, short timeline, tired team, conflicting sponsors and rapidly changing requirements. Did it all come together at the end? When it does, and this is what amazed me every time.

People work hard, resolve their core differences, follow minimum process that is required, the team comes together in times of crisis, communication skyrockets, meetings become very productive and short, a hell lot of work gets DONE – defects are fixed in record time, deployments are done multiple times a day, testing happens simultaneously, people get tired but recover soon, and a sense of achievement draws the team to the goal.

I often wonder why earlier in projects communication moves slowly, ideas take too much time to finalize, interactions take very long, meetings drag on with no final outcome, and responsiveness is elusive. A crisis or a looming deadline can be one of your best moments to shine, if it pops up grab it and run with it, could this be a career changing project?


About Samir Penkar

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