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By Todd Post

Ideally, no project would ever change from planning to implementation. That means no requirements revised, no budgets revisited, no schedules missed, no personnel reassigned, no reason to worry… at least on paper… right!

I’m reminded of that rock-and-roll song by Aerosmith, “Dream On” — Anybody see my trampoline?

In fact, the real world of projects requires managers to do major somersaults throughout. I’ve always figured that being able to adapt to the changing circumstances created by a slew of factors no one has the clairvoyance to see at the start of a project is what Management (note the capital ‘M’) is all about. When I asked Joan Salute in our interview for this month’s issue about the most important characteristic of a successful project manager, she replied, “I don’t know about the most important, but one of the things I feel strongly about is readjustment. You can have the best plan in the world, but if it doesn’t work out, your ability to readjust and recover probably has more value than your ability to plan it.”

She said it, and the stories this issue, I believe, show it in a Big Way.

In Volume 3 of ASK we feature some of the supplest practitioners of flexibility in the NASA world of project management. We at ASK want to be flexible too, so with Dougal Maclise’s story “What’s A Ceiling?” about teaching a blind boy to walk from home to school by himself, we offer our readers a metaphorical approach to project management. Maybe this will create some space to talk about your own subjects a little too close to home.

Again, we’re always interested in hearing from you. Let me know what you think about these articles, or anything that strikes a chord in ASK Volume 3.

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