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Thursday, August 9, 2012

#022 - Built to Last - Forget Waterfall, Forget Agile - Let's Talk Tectonic Project Methodologies

Have you ever managed a really big project? I am certain that many of you have managed some very large projects. But how big is that, exactly? As big as the pyramids? Well, maybe some of you have. But there are some projects that make even those pale in comparison.

As a matter of fact, I am currently sitting in the middle of one of the world's largest Projects. No, it was not my project - not by a long shot. We don't actually have the email or mobile number for the project manager responsible - but you can clearly see the results.

I am sitting here typing away in Hamilton - roughly in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand.

No, Hamilton is bigger than a pyramid, but it is not the project either. It is a nice place to live, and a medium sized city for New Zealand - actually the largest inland city as the main ones are along one coast or another.

The project of which I am speaking is the whole of the North Island itself. The island is 113,729 square kilometres (43,911 sq mi) in area, making it the world's 14th-largest island.

Ok, ok, you say - what's the point, and how is this a project?

I suggest this is a project because it is almost entirely volcanic in origin. Just like Hawaii or any of the smaller pacific islands - but on a much, much larger scale - both geographically and the project timeline.

I guess we should really call it a Program, because it is so large. Ok then, it's a very large program - with each of the volcanoes an individual project. 27 major volcanoes in the Taupo Volcanic zone itself, with another 15 or so scattered in the North Island - well, much more than that because the Auckland Volcanic Field features more than 60 cones. After a while, you lose count of the smaller volcanoes.

Then there is the South Island - a very different kind of project and island.

So - let's translate this to Project Management terms - and build ourselves an island or two.

Mt Ruapehu and Ngarahoe (right), Taupo Volcanic Zone

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