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How to succeed in a project : a good team is mandatory. Best example : Apollo 13

President Richard M. Nixon and the Apollo 13 c...Image via Wikipedia

[h4]”Houston, we have a problem”.[/h4]

In my first post about project management key success factors, I’ve wrote about why a good start is mandatory.

This post is about the next success key factor : the team.

A good project manager without a good team cannot be succuessfull. The team will be constructed during the start phase, and the job of the PM is to manage this team, to make it as efficient as possible.

My best example about this is Apollo 13 lunar mission mission by NASA that was intended to land on the moon


During the mission, a fault in the electrical system produced an explosion which caused a loss of electrical power and failure of both oxygen tanks. This was a major failure that made the life of astronauts at risks. 


Thanks to a very good teamwork reaction, enginneers finally found a solution to make the module back on earth with no damage for the men inside it.


Why was it possible to achieve it : 

  1. Commitment and involvement.
    All the people in the team are committed to succeed, and each member is fully involved to make as much as possible to succeed.
    In the example of Apollo 13, this is of course the case, because life are in danger.
     
  2. Competency
    Members of the team have the good technical skills to find a solution and achieve the objective.
     
  3. Authority and flexibility of the manager
    The team follow the manager. The manager gives the direction, he also give people clear objectives and after let the team members opportunity to find the best way to achieve this.
     
  4. Self-control
    Even in very difficult situation people do not loss self-control. Is self control is loss… nothing is possible, nothing will be solved.
     
  5. Creativity
    Some “impossible” solutions were found to achieve the goal. Example : how to use circle oxigen bottles on a square connector ?
    This was possible because the manage assigned a team to solve this specific topic, and because the team accepted the challenge without saying … “No, it’s not possible”
     
  6. Luck
    Like in all good story, a piece of luck is necessary to succeed.
    In the case of appollo 13, a sick astronaut could not make it the D-Day when the rocket took-off. Thanks to his experince, he was a key guy on the ground to find solution to make the manual landing possible.

If you want to check all this, and be inspired, just check this film, you’ll not be disappointed.

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