The second segment of the four part Cirdan Blog Series: Three Not so Obvious Things I Learned from Ike – Posthumously… In this Blog Series, CirdanPresident, Joanne Vatz shares her thoughts on what she learned from a unique monument building project gone wrong. Like many projects, it begins with all the best of intentions however without adequate governance it falls apart.
First, let me recap some project management measures which tell some of the tale:
Planned start – 1998 Actual start – 1998
Planned duration – 9 years Actual duration – 17 years to date, projected at least 21 years
Project stage – build stage, but see issues
Issues – stakeholder resistance, ineffective private sector fundraising, no funding allotment from Congress
Planned budget - $55 - $75MM
ROM estimate to completion –Costs to date $41MM. Add $142MM+ for current design build. Does not include costs to repeat the design phase.
Lesson 1 – What Happens in the Past Happens in the Future
The most striking thing about the first five years of the EMC work is what did not happen. It took nine years before a designer was selected. Another five before the design was presented. Fundraising efforts were behind projections from the very beginning and went unresolved.
Sluggish projects are sluggish for a reason, and the reasons can vary, but almost always boil down to insufficient commitment, lack of accountability and weak governance. They do not get better unless the dynamics change. This team demonstrated from the outset that it lacked the problem solving and leadership abilities required to effectively solve problems. The EMC had the evidence of serious issues right from the beginning of the work, and failed to address any of it in a comprehensive way. Is it a wonder that issues have finally overtaken it?
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