Do you have what it takes to plan interstellar travel, first time alien encounter, and a life form that ultimately wants you to be dinner? In this blog post, James Burt takes a frustrated but accurate look at the new feature film Prometheus and how catastrophic project management led to the worst outcome imaginable for the crew. Using the film as a backdrop, Burt points out what can go wrong in project management, creating and exercise where he discusses project failure points with how the crew handled themselves on the project. One of the biggest errors comes from a lack of contingency planning:
No contingency planning Most projects have undecidables, even without encountering alien races. You should probably have some idea what you might do when certain things go wrong (biological contamination being an obvious one). Rather than sleep the two years before arriving on the planet, I’d have had some of the crew watching science fiction movies and working out what they would have done in those scenarios, and then producing appropriate processes.
While very tongue-in-cheek given the subject matter, Burt’s observations are remarkably practical for the projects we face here on Earth. The mistakes the crew of the Prometheus make are the same mistakes teams currently make, and that can lead to a total stagnation of project success in your organization.