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Five project management stories you shouldn’t have missed in April

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Job of the month: Notre Dame “needs an expert project manager”

The fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on 15 April resulted in hundreds of millions of euros in donations from the rich and famous towards a restoration fund. But what’s really needed, according to the architect who helped rebuild Windsor Castle after it caught fire in 1992, is outstanding project management skills. Francis Maude, a director at the Donald Insall Associates, reckons the cathedral can be restored in good time. “What you need is an expert project manager who would be able to identify the materials that are in restricted supply,” he told The Independent.

“There are a number of other big, high-profile projects which will take a large part of the labour supply needed, the specialist craftsmen – there’s the restoration of the Palace of Westminster and of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa. It’s going to place a certain demand on the skilled specialists that there are.” Interested and experienced project managers should apply via the office of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe…

Row of the month: diversity backlash

Company message-boards are usually a great way to create a shared culture and open channels between teams and into upper management. But Microsoft’s Yammer channel has been the scene of a bitter argument over incentives to increase diversity after a programme manager at the company criticised hiring practices as discriminatory against white and Asian men. The author – a woman – claims to have “an ever-increasing file of white male Microsoft employees who have faced outright and overt discrimination”, although counter posts and earlier stories suggest many teams in Microsoft remain heavily skewed against women. For programme and project managers in tech, the discussion is worth a look…

Completed project of the month: Danish whirl

Kasper Larsen is the project manager for the latest environmental attraction at Denmark's biggest climbing park, Camp Adventure. The hourglass-shaped spiral walkway is 45m tall and gives unparalleled views across Gisselfeld Klosters forest and as far as Copenhagen, 50km away. “We wanted to create an extraordinary observation tower,” Larsen explained. “It has been a long challenging process from the original inception of the idea, to where we are today. We are thrilled to offer this truly unique experience on our grounds and we look forward to sharing this experience with our future visitors.” The project was formally opened by Danish PM Lars Løkke on 1 April.

Courts news: PM’s iron triangle in the dock

To London’s High Court, where Mrs Justice Jefford has rejected a £1m compensation claim against a small project management consultancy that spent four years working on a dream house in Highgate commissioned by a millionaire couple, Stuart and Naomi Russell. Peter and Linda Stone’s firm, PSP Consultants, worked on the project from 2008 to 2012, attempting to deliver against a brief that included “a wow factor in every space.” When the budget ballooned to £5m and contractors walked off the project in 2012, the Russells sued – but the judge has ruled, “The result is that they got what they paid for.” The Iron Triangle exerts itself in every sphere, it seems. (Lesson: any project brief needs far tighter definitions of quality than 'a wow factor'.)

Tabloid splash of the month: the new face of project management?

Project manager Matt Young (almost) achieved social media celebrity status last month after his bride-to-be Corinne Linekar’s hen party in Liverpool. Chief bridesmaid Chelsea Heatley ordered 20 marks with Matt’s face on it for the do, only to discover the supplier had also sent 20 with someone else’s image on them. The search for the stranger’s identity went viral on Facebook – and even got covered in Metro and Mail Online. Poor Matt didn’t get a look in on the story. A little further investigation reveals the bridesmaid herself runs an agency placing 'true life stories' in the press. A-ha…

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Brought to you by Project journal.

Image: Sammby/


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