cargo ship underway viewed from bowThis article was written by guest author Mats Malmstrom, who who will be presenting the upcoming webinar on value management.

Mats  is a multi-talented management consultant with more than 25 years of experience as executive sponsor, program and project manager, as well as the owner of LYM innovation Consulting, a firm coaching and training organizations in the art and science of Project Management in North and Latin America.

Introduction to traditional value management

Traditionally value in projects has been expressed with the following formula: Value(outcome)=Scope/Cost

Thus, theoretically we have two options to increase project value: we increase the scope more than we increase the cost,or decrease the cost more than the scope. Mathematically, there is no possible objection to these two possibilities, which are enabled by the initial formula.

Here’s where the problem starts. As we all know, project management is the art and science of producing results never achieved before (which is quite amazing, if you think of it). Unfortunately, the beautiful simplicity of the value formula doesn’t quite capture the complexity and dynamics of the project. It’s a bit like trying to predict the weather using the laws of thermodynamics.

In other words: exploring opportunities to increase the scope alone will not guarantee an increased value; nor will a decrease in cost, without looking very carefully at the impact on the scope that is delivered.

The success of a project is measured in the terms of how well it manages to deliver the wanted result/outcome at a predicted delivery time and cost. These terms are expressed in the form of project goals. All projects have different priorities set between these constraints, and project requirements are ranked accordingly to focus the project on “doing the right things”.

While the traditional approach provides a good baseline for value management in terms of setting the broad parameters of value creation, following the “mathematical tactics” blindly could result in critical value being forgotten or lost.

Webinar How do you optimize project value?

Project value straddles beyond usual project management parameters

Historically we have been defining and monitoring project success and performance in terms of Scope (requirements implemented), Time (Project outcome delivered on time), Cost (Project cost vs initial budget) and Quality (Quality KPI’s fulfilled). Projects meeting those goals have been considered successful and thus have generated the expected value for the organization and its business.

Though these parameters give a good indication of project performance they often fail to show the complete picture of the value expected or created by a project.

That’s why it’s increasingly important to talk about value in its own terms, as opposed to treating it as a by-product of the parameters listed above.

The PMI has recognized this reality for many editions. Take, for example, the definition of business value in the glossary of the PMBOK 5th edition, where it is noted that the concept is unique for each organization, and includes both tangible and non-tangible elements.

When we start consider value as the reason for doing what we do, value management becomes a central process driving business success., In the latest Pulse of Profession report from PMI(r) indicates that organizations applying Benefit realization management (Value management) are reaching better project results.

Also, defining project goals around those terms does have an impact on how the project is organized, managed and how the project governance is implemented in the organization.

Some examples of poor value management

Problem statement:

The project manager could not report on the new financial KPI’s required for a more thorough financial follow up of the project because of the way the line organization had structured the cost collection in the ERP system. This generated an additional cost for the project, as cost information had to be manually collected and synthesized from the project organization.


There was a misalignment in the matrix organization, making it very difficult to measure the value of the project accurately.

Problem statement:

The project manager prioritized delivery performance (Time) without understanding what the customer’s most urgent needs were. The project was showing excellent progress while the customer complaints escalated.


In this case the value tracking did not include some of the values expected to be delivered  by the project.

Problem statement:

The standard project reporting did not meet the organization’s/stakeholders’ needs for business information, adding extra work for the project team.


This is a typical situation that occurs when there is no standard procedure for monitoring value for the project across the organization.

Problem statement:

Another project started up a number of project activities in order to meet the deadline without considering how the large negative cashflow impacted the financial performance of the company.


This could have been an approved project execution strategy from the start, but what if it wasn’t? Sound businesses strives to make the financial operations as effective i.e. increase liquidity to reduce the cost of capital, and so have cash available to cover expenses and invest in new ventures.

Structuring Value Management

You may ask what these situations have in common, and what they have to do with value management. In all these cases, a structured value management process across the operation End-to-End would have helped the projects avoid the situation, or at least minimized the project impact.

While there isn’t a catch-all mistake in all the examples, a more holistic approach to understanding project value at the outset of the project, and more consistency in managing the generation of value during the project’s life cycle can help identify misalignments with stakeholders, and between the productivity interests of the project manager and those of the organization.

What do we mean with business value?

Find out more in the webinar: How do you optimize project value?

Let’s go back to this important notion. We have already seen that in order for us to understand the business value of a project we have to put it into the context of the organization: its mission, vision, strategy and goals. We must understand the environment it operates in: customers, competitors, regulatory and legal considerations. How does the organization get things done, i.e. what are the processes and tools used?  What resources and competences does the organization have? How is the organization structured and governed?

The expected business value is expressed exclusively for each project in both tangible and intangible goals in various dimensions related to company strategy, business goals, the customers, resource availability, operational improvements, competence development, to name a few.

Of course, financial aspects are crucial -although not sufficient per se. The financial performance of the project must be in for measuring success, and  rigorous financial metrics must be used to measure the value of the project (and its feasibility!) over the project life cycle. Hence it is vital for the project manager to have a good understanding of how the project performance is impacting both the general company financials and the project financials in order to lead the project and take corrective actions when necessary.

Successful business value creation starts with a comprehensive, purposeful strategic planning on company level and is then broken down into a portfolio of business critical initiatives that are realized by executing programs or projects.

Capturing the  business value for the project is a quite complex work of collecting and understanding its complete context. Unfortunately, very often project managers are not self-sufficient in this type of activity, since they may not access to have relevant information, either because it has not been communicated properly, because it is sitting in an organizational silo, or, in the worst case scenario, because it may be classified or beyond his level of authority.

For the project manager to lead the project effectively often means to realize what he doesn’t know about the project and untap many unknown unknowns. Of course, this is a daunting task without proper information sharing policies that enforce a culture of collaboration and interaction with stakeholders that help lead resources in the right direction.

In conclusion: You might not have an organizational structure and processes in place to follow up or ensure value creation in the project. However, there are some relatively easy things that you could do within the limit of your level of authority.

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four team members

Onyriq’s founding team

Onyriq represents a new generation of innovative companies pursuing the social impact of knowledge.

Ainhoa, Joseba and Mikel met at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) in San Sebastian while studying chemistry and specializing in polymers. Years later, the three have finished their postgraduate studies and greet each morning in the Parc Científic de Barcelona. Although they research together every day and haven’t lost sight of the laboratories, chemical structures or trials, they don’t teach nor receive a salary from the university.

These three chemists have started up their own company together with Oriol, an aerospace engineer based in Japan: a year ago, in September 2016, Onyriq was founded as a startup whose core business lies in the research, development and innovation of polymers. With a business model that is clearly focused on knowledge transfer, their objective is ambitious: to support the company with the commercial exploitation of its own research through licenses and patents.

Join Onyriq and start managing and evaluating your programs with ITM Platform

The day to day operations of Onyriq include the management of its research projects with ITM Platform. "We work with ITM Platform for both the execution of our projects and the development of proposals to clients, Since we calculate the differences between the proposal and the actual project (in budget, time and activities), that allows us to better know its profitability."

"Onyriq's example is representative of an increasing number of high value-added companies that are using portfolio and program management tools previously exclusive of large corporations"

In a market as broad as that of polymeric materials, Onyriq transfers technologies used across a range of industries, such as: aerospace, health, 3D printing or food. Their previous experience has led them to define three main lines of research: the synthesis and modification of polymers and biopolymers, the encapsulation of active compounds for pharmaceutical companies, and the functionalization of materials to impart specific properties. "We hope that companies with different core businesses that work with polymers can outsource the innovation of their processes by relying on us and our extensive know-how," says Ainhoa.

logo Onyriq

As for their service portfolio, Onyriq is divided into three corners: the transfer of knowledge with its own research, innovation on demand and training workshops. Although the marketing of own research currently has a secondary importance, the goal is to become the main source of income for the company. To reach this stage, Onyriq not only needs to manage its projects with professionalism, but also to continuously evaluate the different lines of research that group the different projects of the company.

The example of Onyriq shows how more and more high value-added companies need access to portfolio and program management tools that were previously only available to large multinational groups, but to which they have better access thanks to the appearance of actors who are betting on the democratization of the sector, like ITM Platform.

team mebers talking, computer

Program management, model requirement

Despite their youth, the Onyriq founders have already run European research projects with multi-million budgets. While managing a major project is not a major concern, researching without losing sight of profitability is indeed a novel challenge, and one that is hard to combine with the long-term vision required by academic research.

Program Management bundles the entrepreneurial and the scientific mindset. Given their previous experience as project managers, it was known from the start that a central piece towards sustainability was a tool that fulfilled two objectives: to allow the team to adopt professional project management methodologies, and to group similar projects with common objectives into programs.

"Program Management bundles the entrepreneurial and the scientific mindset."

It was then, after what Ainhoa ​​describes as an exhaustive process of searching and evaluating different options, they finally opted for ITM Platform. According to her account, "ITM Platform is by far the most complete solution we could find. And we tried many."

In addition to the unified management of the research lines as project programs, some of the benefits that favored the decision were the purchase and revenue management, with which Onyriq manages the benefits generated by the different accounts and associated suppliers, and the freedom to create both predictive projects and agile projects. If Gantt diagrams are perfect for preparing projects for customers, Kanban panels are widely used for more informal proposals and projects in which maximum visibility is desired for all members, so that coordinated progress can be made.

The fact that ITM Platform is not overly technical and allows the use of non-certified project managers has also been a very important factor in ensuring the continued use of the tool. Another important feature is flexibility: "we have been able to configure the tool to adapt it to our internal operating model".

"ITM Platform is by far the most complete solution we could find. And we tried many."

Balancing demand

As in any startup, over the next few years Onyriq will be dedicated to checking which business scenarios are correct and which need adjustment. Onyriq's B2B services are so closely related to the core business of customers that the future of the business will depend heavily on the relationships that consolidate in this initial stage. Although polymer applications are very broad, and many of them have an appealing niche potential, the Onyriq team is aware that the market will judge each line of research. According to Ainhoa, "the importance of the different axes of our activity will ultimately be proportional to the demand that we find. In a possible world, within five years we could patent a successful synthesis method for 3D printing of prostheses. Although we could get to specialize in the health sector, we know that diversification will key so we’re not dependent on the economic cycles. R&D is so unpredictable that we must be prepared by measuring how things are moving forward."

That need for measurement lies at the heart of Onyriq's internal processes, which ITM Platform uses to meet its two major business goals today: financial independence and continuous change.

Financial Independence

Currently, contract research for companies outsourcing innovation accounts for approximately two-thirds of Onyriq's revenues, which are used to fund own research. So much so, that Onyriq's main goal for the next few years is to market its own research to become the first source of income. When that time comes, Onyriq will become more selective with on demand services. This will be the moment when the long terms of research will be better supported by the rest of the structure.

Continuous Change

Some knowledge transfer might not be good for business due to both technological risks and market trends. As in any innovative portfolio, it’s important thing to combine projects with different expectations of profitability and risk levels so that more conservative projects support the most creative proposals.

"In such a changing and unpredictable environment as R & D, it is essential to be prepared and to measure how things are working at all times."

Onyriq's business processes require continuous measurement of different key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to calculate ROI and decide on which project should be part of the portfolio.

While all startups are expected to pivot and search for their model, for Onyriq that pivotal effort extends after breaking even. Knowing what research programs and which technologies are in greater demand or which sectors are more profitable will remain necessary for Onyriq to maintain the competitive advantage in an innovative market dominated by big players.

This business foundation gives Onyriq the strength to fight against the limitations of the most advanced scientific research. As Ainhoa ​​acknowledges: "Although technological centers and universities are committed to the generation of knowledge, this R & D is often not applied. The aim of ONYRIQ is to turn the potential of polymer science into innovative technologies or products with a positive impact on society and, in turn, enable profitable business models. To do this, we adapt our knowledge to the real capabilities of the industry and to the market situation. "

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banking icons thin line set. currency operations, bank building, check, wallet and credit card, paper cash and coins in hands, pos machine. flat style color vector symbols isolated on white.Financial services are an infallible measure of your time

At the time of European colonization, the great adventures of exploration were only possible thanks to the issuance of loans by the great bankers of the time.

In the western United States, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, banks operated with minimal regulation. To build trust in its users, the bank was often the most solid building in the entire settlement. During the time when remote communication was done by MORSE code and the train lines forced to coordinate the schedules in remote territories.

Nowadays, the need for trust and guarantees has not changed, although the means to produce it uses current technologies.

Monitor the contribution of your technological projects to the development of the business with ITM Platform.

Entities providing financial services to private users move trillions of dollars around the world, and mainly include commercial banks and insurers. The transition to increasingly more digital users has forced this sector not only to provide online banking services, but to give access to those same services in mobile applications.

The pressure on banking to modernize its IT systems

And it's not just about designing an attractive and useful online banking application.

A commercial banking mobile application is only possible as a result of dozens of different projects, such as:

  • Making remittances to other banking entities
  • Secure authentication system with fingerprint
  • Account management, with recovery of historical information and permanent updating of the latest movements
  • GPS navigation to find the nearest cashier or office
  • Viewing of information

All this does not take into account all the technological infrastructure with which the online banking application must be connected in order to be launched, nor the legal and compliance obligations to which this type of operations are subject, including the protection of data during its recovery , treatment, storage and communication.

Competition is fierce: according to a Ernst & Young report launched in 2016, in most surveyed countries, the general public relies more on mobile banking services from supermarket chains or digital home banking to traditional banks' online banking applications .

If these projects were not managed in a coordinated way, it would be impossible to guarantee the service. What's more, it would be crazy to think that it would work at the time of launch. That is why every financial services company needs to manage its projects in a coordinated manner.

That means that, without addressing all the implications and connections between the new application and existing systems, and without coordinating projects based on these connections, at some point we will find this message when we open our online personal banking application:

"We are experiencing some technical difficulties. Apologies for the inconvenience."

If we reach this outcome, coordination has failed. Meaning having to abandon the project management to deal with the crisis.

The message has as many causes and variations: login problems, failure to update data, procedural problems.

However, the result is the same: loss of customers and reputation.

That is why, for the organizations that manage to coordinate their projects, competitive advantages immediately ensue. In addition, attracted by a comforting user experience, new customers arrive in flocks. The most robust building in the city has been erected, perfectly visible on every mobile screen.

Financial services and project management

In order to avoid messages like that and to construct a robust strategy of technological delivery, the responsibility of the CIO of a banking institution has to be the general of his army. In order to coordinate their activities, these profiles should focus on at least 6 major responsibilities:

  • Develop projects for all business units of the organization with equipment and limited funding, often responding to direct demands for new internal projects.
  • Contributing to productivity goals consistently.
  • Leading the digitization of the service portfolio.
  • Modernize information systems, which are often decades old. The transition is difficult, but without it the overall response time will be compromised. In addition, problems of backward compatibility may arise as soon as there are strong demands to implement new technologies for a user, such as direct mobile payment.
  • Reducing contingencies that impede active planning and "putting out fires" effectively.
  • Use credible measures to see if teams are working on appropriate projects.

The 11 questions for financial services projects

These responsibilities require access to aggregate information, such as that provided by portfolio management tools, and which can be summarized in 6 basic questions:

  • What projects are currently being implemented?
  • What projects are planned?
  • What resources are available?
  • Are there limits or restrictions on the use of these resources?
  • What other projects can be implemented with current capacity?
  • What are the dependencies between projects?
  • What are the options for resolving conflicts for the use of resources between different projects?

In addition, there are other questions whose response is likely to require meetings and deliberation. The following 4 are some examples.

  • Are there unapproved project proposals that merit efforts in the light of the current situation, or do they have synergies with other projects already initiated?
  • Given the follow-up of the projects, is it appropriate to cancel any of the ongoing projects?
  • Have resources been planned according to project priorities and job-specific competencies?
  • Is there any review of objectives and priorities affecting project implementation?

In order to be able to respond adequately to these questions, it is necessary to use the project portfolio of the organization as a repository of ideas and proposals that are evaluated, analyzed and initiated according to a constant cycle.

In many organizations in other sectors, the portfolio steering committee is comprised of directors from various areas, each of whom provides input on priority projects. This model can also be implemented in banks or insurers; the key is to find the balance between the technical feasibility criteria of IT managers and the business vision.

On these foundations, the digitization, innovation and commercial development projects of any financial services entity will be protected by a robust governance system with guarantees of success.

If you liked this blog, here are some related blogs that you may find interesting:

How to manage multi-project organizations

How SaaS-based project management has surpassed the MS Project model

Integration with the ITM Platform Project Menu

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vector isometric low poly infographic element representing map of military airport or airbase with jet fighters, helicopters, armored vehicles, structures, control tower and cargo airplane landingThe Pentagon is not only the symbol of the most powerful military power in the world, but the supreme governing body of the American military: the public organization that has contributed the most to the consolidation of project management as a discipline. The technological development experienced by the arms industry and the expansion of logistics operations supported the development of numerous methodologies and an abundant class of engineers. 

For example, the Work Structure Decomposition (DEBS) method was designed by the Department of Defense and was first deployed to the United States Navy in 1957 within a ballistic program. In addition, one of the most common careers for military members and retired veterans is precisely to direct projects. Military matters assume the highest demands on timely delivery and quality of results. 

On the other hand, the fact that the Pentagon has access to huge budgets for other states carries a very important risk of wastage. 

You cannot live in glory: in complex environments with multiple projects and where it is practically impossible to always have an overview of all the work, it is very easy to produce problems of inefficiency. This explains why project monitoring is a fundamental mission in the management of any portfolio. 

X-ray of the Pentagon

In January of 2015, an internal report of the Department of Defense revealed a chilling fact: in the next 5 years a total of 125 trillion dollars could be saved, which would be enough to appropriate adjustments in the administrative and bureaucratic departments. 

Approximately a quarter of the Pentagon's budget is spent on administration, management and maintenance costs, and cannot be used for the mission of the agency. 

So, what are all these resources destined for? In large part, the maintenance of a complex structure of management processes in which a total of one million people are employed, a number forty times greater than the employees of the pentagon itself and practically identical to the ones that are in operations Military. The six major administrative processes are Human Resources, Health Management, Financial Management, Logistics, Procurement and Suppliers, and Real Estate Management. 

In the image below you can see an example of the intricate bureaucratic web in which all these back-office workers are involved in one way or another. The title of the image is: Integrated Department of Defense system for the acquisition, development of technology and Supply logistics.

That said, the image shows the complex process by which it is decided to contract (or not) a particular service, to develop (or not) an investigation, to manufacture (or not) a weapon or other device, to move it (or not) to the front and keep (or not) weapons, vehicles or any other type of technology. 

The inefficiency of this process is proverbial, as in the case of the development of the Bradley vehicle in the 80s, whose total development cost 15 billion dollars. 

The solution: efficient management

Other documentation for internal use indicates some of the measures that can be taken to improve the management of these projects, making it much more efficient in the administration of all financial resources. By way of illustration, in 5 years, according to their calculations, 4,325 more soldiers could be hired. 

Among the most interesting solutions for other organizations are the following: 

  • Establishment of transversal teams for each process that can create common rules and methodologies for all
  • Prioritization of contracts
  • Review of contracts to exclude and discount all items that do not correspond to real requirements
  • Training of cross-cutting teams to improve productivity
  • Development of internal initiatives in priority processes and activities 

Interestingly, pentagon solutions go through the creation of a portfolio of internal optimization and operational innovation projects that would be overseen and supported by program managers.

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During the past year, various subjects were suppressed in all educational establishments within the education system in Finland, and the teaching method known as Phenomenon-based Learning (PhenoBL) was introduced. In fact, this method involves a collaborative and empirical work between students and teachers through an action that can be considered a step of applied innovation in the field of education, the management of interdisciplinary projects.
Although this method is part of a more generic paradigm that has more than half a century of existence, Project-Based Learning, its adoption as a national educational policy is novel and is based on the diagnosis that "The most important and influential results today are the results of cooperation and networking", which is why learning based on individual examination of static knowledge has lost much of its value.

How do you learn through projects in school?

Compared to passive memorization programs, Project Based Learning engages children in open-ended, project-based activities. The starting point can be a question or a problem that the students are confronted with, and proactively find answers that bring theoretical knowledge into reality through a transformative approach. This approach, popularized in the United States by great pedagogical reformers like John Dewey, recognizes that the traditional model of compulsory school was based on educating for obedience. Many of the students who were socialized into being quiet for eight-hour shifts would would eventually have a simpler transition to jobs as industrial workers.

An outdated model: as is well known, workers and manufacturing are disappearing in post-industrial countries, being replaced by the demand for tertiary workers capable of finding new solutions and adapting to changing situations.

While the old school practiced obedience, memorization, and repetition, project-based education generally involves teamwork, physical activity, critical thinking, and evaluation of the resources available to solve a problem. No less important is the promotion of the person's responsibility over results. In other words, the paradigm tries to put students in the role of researchers, while teachers stop imparting knowledge by authority to move to facilitate a process of direct experience.


Within Project Based Learning, students are active participants in their education. Specifically, they can choose topics or subjects that they would like to learn, plan the learning development together with their teachers and, finally, evaluate their process.

Mentoring teachers

On the other hand, this paradigm also implies important changes in the teaching profession. In other words, they no longer have the usual control over their courses, and their work is not based on master classes, being more like a mentor.

The Finnish case

Finnish schools are required to have in their curriculum, for children aged 7-16 with at least an extended period of Phenomenon-Based Learning. Instead of teaching subjects in isolation, such as mathematics, science and history, multidisciplinary issues such as climate change or social issues are tackled, using resources from a variety of disciplines.

The new role of the educator is based on the internalization of the following positive conditions:

  • If you want to increase curiosity, let them question you
  • If you want to develop problem-solving skills, communicate school knowledge with real problems and encourage students to work together to find solutions
  • If you want to improve understanding, combine knowledge and skills of different subjects
  • If you want to train citizens who develop society, promote inclusivity and participation, you should facilitate positive critical thinking and provide opportunities to generate real change
  • If you want to reinforce confidence in yourself and the desire to learn, make constructive and honest comments. Never humiliate or discourage someone who is learning.

Many of these principles have positive consequences for professional organizations and for an open innovation culture. The attention to multidisciplinary teams and the stimulation of the creativity of team members are, at the same time, the inspiration of this educational model and the result of it.

Educators in Finland rely on online platforms to encourage discussion among their students about what topics and concepts they would like to learn more in order to deepen the phenomenon in question.

One of the main benefits of Phenomenon-Based Learning is the perception of a problem from different points of view. Even before the student knows the distinction between different disciplines, he learns that it is possible to consider a phenomenon from different and complementary points of view, the sum of whose parts offers a more complete understanding of reality. Just as there is no single way to analyze a phenomenon, there is no single answer to its construction: each student can build in their own way the path that combines discovery and creation.

Other benefits that are often emphasized are:

- the excitement caused by solving a problem or by putting together the pieces of an idea facilitates the integration of knowledge. Learning (or working) does not have to be boring: it can be exciting.

- problem solving in the classroom gives children the confidence to choose future careers that include problem solving;

- the ability to gather pieces to understand the world as a whole, is what will grow students as informed and productive citizens.

Not a trend, but the future of education

Some critical voices have pointed out that the method of learning by projects involves the practical abolition of subjects as we know them today. And with them, the baggage of general culture shared (at least in theory) by all citizens. Thus, depending on the type of projects that students have done, they can leave behind important gaps in all areas of knowledge; from trigonometry to recent history. However, the Finnish National Board of Education has repeatedly emphasized that traditional classes have not disappeared in Finland. Quite the opposite: this method of education continues to coexist with traditional subjects.

However, the reality is that the method is becoming more popular. In Spain, for example, a model similar to the one that works in Finland is already known under a similar name, Project Learning. Specifically, the schools of Jesuits in Catalonia – which educate more than 13,000 students - who in recent years have eliminated subjects, exams and schedules, also transforming their classrooms into work spaces where children acquire knowledge through project management. In addition, its pedagogical model is entitled "Horizon 2020", which implies that this and similar models are not only a trend in education, but the future.

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Artificial lakes, Venetian canals inside commercial galleries, fountains capable of pumping water as high as a building ... Few cities make a more spectacular use of water.

Anyone would say that it is an abundant resource. However, Las Vegas is surrounded by the Nevada desert, one of the largest in the world.

How is this possible? Behind this paradox, lies successful project management, which allows for turning the driest of deserts into a fertile oasis. Let's see how.

Collaboration with neighbors

The city of Las Vegas collaborates with neighboring regions to obtain water supplies. Until 1991, each municipality sought to exploit the Colorado River and Lake Mead independently.

However, during that year, the Southern Nevada Water Authority was founded. This organization aims to ensure the proper use of water by all populations in the surrounding area. This way, it is guaranteed that water is used adequately and benefits not only some of the population but all.

Internal collaboration: companies and individuals

The larger companies in the city have been incorporated into the initiative of saving water. Perhaps not by conscience or social responsibility, but by an economic question: the cost of a liter of water is greater the more it has been consumed.

Regardless of the cause, major hotels in the city have established a healthy competition to see which performs the most efficient water management. Using advanced water purification systems, the main strip hotels only consume 3% of the city's total water.

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For their part, ordinary citizens also collaborate. Incentive programs exist for the substitution of conventional irrigated gardens for others of native desert flora. The maintenance of these gardens implies a lower expenditure of water and instead this valuable resource can be used for human consumption.

The result is that approximately 90% of the water consumed by the city is purified and returned to Lake Mead.

Mentality change

Of course, all these changes have not occurred overnight: a gradual adaptation has been necessary. To this end, all public and private organizations, from the largest companies to the self-employed, through industries and families, have had to shoulder the burden in a common cause and adapt to the new circumstances of scarcity. Adapting to this new scenario will ensure the survival of your business model ... and life.

Forecast: the ability to anticipate problems

Las Vegas could never have had a population of 2 million inhabitants and an estimated 35 million visitors a year if it had not had enough water stock.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the construction of the Hoover Dam allowed the storage of large quantities of water, which not only ensured the supply, but allowed the water to become a source of electricity.

The construction of the dam before the water needs multiplied, allowed to face this new situation with guarantees and that the city prospered.

Application of new technological solutions

However, the technology is becoming obsolete and the available resources may be insufficient. This situation is also being raised in Las Vegas. Currently, it seems that the Hoover Dam will not suffice in the medium term. As a solution, the city of Las Vegas has sought rights to water from other Nevada basins and the Utah Snake Valley. A new pipeline connection between these regions and the city of Las Vegas will ensure their supply.

What can project management contribute with?

  • Accurate knowledge of available water resources. In the example above, it is necessary to know the exact volumes of water available, the demand curve, the capacity of the distribution networks, before carrying out a transfer or requesting new water inputs from neighboring municipalities...
  • Projection of the future: anticipation of the worst possible scenario. Rainfall is likely to increase in the coming years. Although forecasts for climate change seem to indicate otherwise, it is possible that a year’s rainfall will exceed forecasts. However, this exception is not something that can be counted on. A leader in charge of project management has to be able to always put himself in the worst place, to foresee the worst possible scenario and to prepare a suitable solution for him. That is why the Hoover Dam was built and that is why water transfers are planned before the need is urgent.
  • Agile and efficient technological solutions. The water utilization systems used in hotels, homes and businesses can recycle most of the water consumed and return it to Lake Mead. This is possible thanks to the use of advanced technology. Finding and adopting new technological solutions allows you to make the most of available resources.
  • Negotiation. Without leaders able to establish equilibrium scenarios in which all parties win despite giving in to certain aspects, Las Vegas would have dried up long ago.

Therefore, for this methodology of project management to work and be carried out properly, it is necessary that all involved share a mentality of entrepreneurship and a predisposition for continuous improvement.

This way of acting, either voluntarily or stimulated by the state of Nevada, has led to involve both companies and individuals in taking measures for water control. Teamwork and good coordination, is what has led to the social and economic miracle that is now Las Vegas.

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