New in Kind

The Post 9/11 World of Projects



By John Schlichter

Georgia, USA



It began as an ordinary day. Israel had surrounded another West Bank city. Michael Jordan was coming out of retirement for “love of the game.” Outside the weather was 72 degrees and sunny, but inside the headquarters of The Weather Channel (TWC) in Atlanta the mood turned dark before 9AM. Stacks of monitors at the international television network switched from images of complex weather systems to images of The World Trade Center in Manhattan as word spread that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. Chaos unfolded on TV’s throughout TWC’s Information Technology department, where I was implementing a Project Management Office on behalf of the Chief Information Officer. Gasps erupted as a second plane appeared on banks of screens and crashed into Tower Two.

My phone rang with a call from the Project Management Institute to discuss the situation unfolding in New York. A number of people in cities throughout the world were scheduled to fly to my location in Atlanta for a meeting later that day to continue developing the OPM3 standard, work that I had conceived and proposed to PMI several years earlier and which I was leading on PMI’s behalf. No sooner had the members of our team decided not to fly than all US flights were grounded. The forecast had changed.

Seven years to the day after the Twin Towers fell on 9/11, accelerated computer-based trading caused a $550 billion draw-down of American money market accounts, nearly crippling the global economy in less than 24 hours. When the crisis hit historic projects like building the Hoover Dam ($78 million) and the Panama Canal ($790 million) were eclipsed by a $29.5 billion dollar bailout of Bear Sterns, followed by $97.2 billion for Bank of America, $97.4 billion for the American automobile industry, and $112 billion for AIG, which was almost as much as the $115 billion spent on the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after World War II. This was followed by $139 billion for GE and $235 billion for Citigroup. Although the role of a healthy financial sector is to support the “real economy,” Americans began to wake up to the fact that the opposite had become the case with the tail wagging the dog (Figure 1).”



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How to cite this article: Schlichter, J.  (2019). New in Kind: The Post 9/11 World of Projects; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue IX, October.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/pmwj86-Oct2019-Schlichter-new-in-kind-post-911-world-of-projects.pdf



About the Author

John Schlichter

Atlanta, GA, USA



John Schlichter coined the term “Organizational Project Management” or “OPM,” which is the system for implementing the business strategy of an organization through projects. OPM became a global standard and is how companies throughout the world deliver projects valued in billions if not trillions of dollars. “John has contributed greatly to PMI,” Greg Balestrero, CEO, PMI Today, 2002. “In John’s role as the leader of PMI’s OPM3 program, he has immeasurably contributed to the growth of the profession,” Becky Winston, J.D., Chair of the Board of Directors, PMI Today, 2002. Having created OPM3© (an international standard in project, program, and portfolio management), John founded OPM Experts LLC, a firm delivering OPM solutions and a leading provider of maturity assessment services. Industry classifications: NAICS 541618 Other Management Consulting and NAICS 611430 Training. John is a member of the adjunct faculty of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

John can be contacted at jschlichter@opmexperts.com or frank.john.schlichter.iii@emory.edu.

To view more works by John Schlichter, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at https://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/john-schlichter/