Welcome to the October 2017 PMWJ

The Proverbial 8 Ball, Unmet Deadlines, De-scoping… and Welcome to the October edition of the PM World Journal

David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Welcome to the October 2017 edition of the PM World Journal (PMWJ), the 63rd uninterrupted monthly edition.  This edition contains 20 original articles, papers and other works by 22 different authors in 12 different countries.  News articles about projects and project management around the world are also included. Since the primary mission of this journal is to support the global sharing of knowledge, please share this month’s edition with others in your network, wherever in the world they may be.

For the past year I have used this opportunity to mention important trends or issues that I see as journal editor.  This month, I want to discuss a common issue on projects of all types and sizes, and one that has affected me personally again this month.  That is, the inability to meet an important deadline.  In my case, this edition of the journal should have been published a week ago.  As is often the case, procrastination and unexpected events led to this situation.  How many of you have experienced this problem?

Behind the Proverbial 8 Ball

In the game of pool (billiards), one’s cue ball occasionally ends up directly behind the 8 ball.  You are not supposed to hit the 8 ball directly with the cue ball, and having the cue ball hidden behind the 8 ball very frequently makes it impossible to make another good shot. This situation can often lead to losing the game.  In the United States, the term “behind the 8 ball” has come to mean being in a difficult or even impossible situation.  Missing a deadline often feels this way.  That’s how I felt this week as I struggled to find the time to complete and publish the PMWWJ.  A sudden death in the family required three days of travel; another family emergency took days to resolve; a government contract required attention.  As a friend stated some time ago, life intervened.  I should have planned better; I should have done the work sooner; perhaps I could have found more help.  One result: this edition contains fewer contents than any other this year.

Unmet Deadlines, What now?

What should you do when it becomes apparent that you or your team cannot meet an approaching deadline or milestone? Too often, the answer includes schedule slippage and/or reducing the scope of work, reducing the number of deliverables or otherwise de-scoping the project.  I have to now be honest with you, I don’t have time to discuss this in any more detail but instead want to refer you to the article this month by Oliver Lehmann titled “Crisis in Your Customer Project? Try Benefit Engineering”.  This is a brilliant article, focusing on delivering customer benefits rather than just traditional project performance measures.  As Oliver suggests, admit and confront the problem, study the impact on the benefits your project delivers, discuss it with the customer and figure out how to maximize benefits under the current conditions.  This might not be easy, but it’s probably better than being penalized, deteriorating relations with the customer (and/or other stakeholders), or even losing a contract (or future business).  That’s my two cents in the little time I have today. Maybe I can take up this issue again in the future if it is of interest to readers.

Now – This month in the Journal

This is a smaller edition of the PMWJ, with only 20 original works when our normal volume is more than 30. Nevertheless, this month’s edition includes some major works and important ones.  Several dig into risk management from various perspectives, industry and otherwise. The three series articles address a like topic, project management in the commercial world where survival also means keeping the customer happy while making a profit.  But please study the table of contents yourself and decide those of interest.


To read entire paper, click here


About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL



David L. Pells is Managing Editor of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.net) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (www.pmworldlibrary.net). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 35 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and international programs, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national nuclear security program.

David Pells has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, serving on the board of directors of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) twice.  He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world. David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; Project Management Associates (PMA – India); and Russian Project Management Association.  Since 2010 he is an honorary member of the Project Management Association of Nepal.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (since 2012).  David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA.  He has published widely and spoken at conferences and events worldwide.  David lives near Dallas, Texas and can be contacted at [email protected] 

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/