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LFH Overview

Impossible Projects Workshop

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Impossible Projects

Using case studies from Impossible Projects

It’s possible to manage an impossible project. 

Summary Description of Workshop

When we say “nothing’s impossible,” we usually mean that given unlimited time, unlimited resources, and really flexible performance standards, we can do anything. “Give me a lever long enough and a platform to rest it on, and I will move the world,” said Archimedes, but he was obviously not a project manager. Our projects are constrained: the iron triangle of resources, time, and mandatory scope are only three of the dimensions that restrict our options.

In project management, the question is whether the project is operationally possible, able to be done within the envelope of our constraints. As project managers, we know the importance of realistic budgets, schedules, and performance criteria, but let’s face it — we don’t always get the final word. Sometimes we get what we get and have to make do…somehow. Worse, we don’t always know what we’re really going to need.  You can’t always tell up front whether the project can actually be accomplished under the current circumstances. By the time we know, it may be too late.

Managing impossible projects is something every project manager faces sooner or later, and in this stimulating, inspiring, and practical workshop attendees will learn how to:

  • Spot “impossible” projects early
  • Find creative solutions to many “impossible” problems
  • Make the business case for change
  • Kill the truly impossible ones before they get out of hand

Based on Michael Dobson’s book Project: Impossible, part of the “Lessons from History” series, this workshop explores some of the most famous “impossible projects” in human history — things that nobody would have thought possible until they were actually accomplished. Following in the footsteps of great project managers such as Julius Caesar, Charles Lindbergh, Robert Moses, and others, you’ll get the inside scoop on how the most brilliant minds in history solved the most intractable problems in the history of project management.

If it were easy, anybody could do it. If it’s impossible, they call in a project manager. Will you be ready? 

Who Should Attend?

Project managers, project team members, managers and general business professionals.

Ignaz Semmelweis


Gandhi Portrait  


Learning Objectives

By the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Diagnose whether a particular project is operationally possible.
  • Apply a multi-step model to potentially impossible projects to determine their essential issues and potential solutions.
  • Identify and analyze constraints that stand in the way of project completion, prioritize them, and assess their relative impact.
  • Identify “assumed constraints” and other negative assumptions that impact project success so that they can be modified in light of project reality.
  • Determine relative flexibility in constraints and assess different methods of using that flexibility to solve project problems.
  • Conduct “negative brainstorming” and other creativity techniques to find solutions to seemingly intractable problems.
  • Develop a business case for modification of project constraints and objectives.
  • Identify projects that are truly impossible or at least highly problematic so that they can be modified or cancelled before their costs get out of hand. 

Robert Moses 

The Benefits of the Workshop

Sooner or later, every project manager gets assigned a project that on the face of it appears to be absolutely impossible. Sometimes, this happens because the situation demands action even though the constraints are unrealistic; other times it happens because project sponsors and customers have not yet faced the reality of their situation.

Because this problem is so common among project managers, the effective and successful project manager needs to know how to step up to the plate when all the odds seem to be unfavorable. As a result of attending this powerful workshop, you’ll be ready when the challenge lands on your doorstep.

George S. Patton

The workshop is based on the following publication.

Note: This course conforms to the internationally recognized standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI®). You will receive 8 PDUs (professional development units) upon completion.


Project Impossible

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