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Could You Survive on Mars? Problem-Solving | Video

Could Your Survive on Mars? Problem-Solving | Video

Could you survive on Mars? This is, to a large extent, a Project Management question. nd the answer is about your attitude to problem-solving.

This video is safe for viewing in the workplace.

This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

I rewatched the film ‘The Martian’ with Matt Damon.

Coming from a science background, I was delighted to see that it mostly respected the science. Just mostly, though 😉

There’s another manned spaceflight movie that inspires a sense of awe for the Project Manager’s potential: ‘Apollo 13’.

The Long Haul

My sense of wonder doesn’t come from the long duration steady research, planning, and project management that designs, builds, and launches a space mission over many years.

That’s like what you do every day as a Project Manager.

Working the Problems

What excites me is the calm, deliberate approach to solving problem after problem, one at a time. Identify the problem, find a solution, plan it out, and execute it quickly.

‘Let’s work the problem people. Let’s not make things worse by guessing.’

Gene Kranz, NASA Flight Director, depicted by Ed Harris in the film, ‘Apollo 13’

The True Spirit of Project Management

Far too many people argue about the pros and cons of traditional and Agile project management approaches. But, they miss the key truth. The essence of project management is problem-solving. You must be a problem-solver.

Look at every problem as a chance to figure it out.

That’s the fun, and it’s how we earn our keep. Anyone can follow a plan. The challenge is to create one from nothing, at the start of your project. And then to create new plans to tackle every setback and unexpected bend in the road.

‘In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option, I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.’

Mark Watney, the lead character in the film, ‘The Martian’, played by Matt Damon

The distinction that matters among project managers is not whether you do Predictive or Agile PM. Nor whether you focus on tasks or on people.

The question you need to answer is:

‘Are you a plan-follower, or a problem-solver?’

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What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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