ast July, NASA’s New Horizons space
probe zoomed in to capture the first
close-up images of Pluto—the result
of a remarkable 3-billion-mile ( 4.8-
billion-kilometer), nine-year journey to
the edge of the solar system. The U.S.
space agency’s mission was one-of-a-kind, but it relied on the same project
management principles any marathon
project needs to succeed.
Creating a project plan that will stand the
test of time takes looking to the past—and
far into the future—to identify and anticipate
potential risks. Maintaining continuity and
enthusiasm on the project team means being
a coach and a cheerleader year after year.
And managing the revolving door of stakeholders and vendors requires a communication plan that will work for the long haul.
But developing this discipline takes a special skill set. Project managers who have
steered long-term projects from start to finish share their secrets for passing the project endurance test.