Implementation!

Summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro: A Project Management Case Study

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Reaching almost twenty thousand feet high, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest point in Africa. In Swahili, Kilimanjaro is translated as the “Mountain of Greatness.” In 2000, my brother and I decided to climb this great mountain. We spent months preparing including understanding what we would need to summit, designing our approach, getting the right equipment and training for endurance. We then spent one week executing the plan up the mountain. Since these are the same steps required in managing any project, I decided to write a case study on Project Management best practices in the context of planning and executing our journey up the mountain.

Mountaineering

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Back in the early 1970s when I lived and worked in Switzerland, I joined the Swiss Alpine Club and spent several glorious summers moving from novice to intermediate climber. It turned out that mountain climbing was more to my taste than rock climbing; perhaps this was because there was more variety in mountain climbing which, after all, has rock climbing as a subset. Or perhaps it was because mountain climbing placed more emphasis on stamina over peak athletic performance. In any event, I learned that to be successful in this activity required merging basic technical skills with good people skills and good judgment. I found that there were lots of climbers but few really good climbingparty leaders. So I tried to figure out what made the good leaders really good.