On Ukraine: The Undesirable Power of Projects



By Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez

3 March 2022

Ref: The war in Ukraine and projects, the good and the bad

Editor’s note: This comments below were first published in the Lead Successful Projects newsletter. They are republished here as a letter to the editor due to their relevance to the war in Ukraine that may now be highlighting shortcomings in the PM world, and certainly new and perhaps much greater risks.

Dear all,

I am a huge believer in the incredible power of projects for good and noble causes, but also conscious about their undesirable side. Unfortunately, most of our current leaders do not understand projects and ignore their overwhelming positive, and sometimes enormously negative, power.

Whenever there is a conflict of such magnitude, I analyze the situation from a project perspective. And to my desolation, I realize that the merciless leaders have always an incredibly well-defined project to implement their devastating views. In contrast, the other leaders have a very fragile project, if they have one at all.  

The world is looking with shock, despair, and sadness at the recent events in Ukraine. We never thought that war could be happening in Europe again. I try to imagine how my life would radically change if tomorrow we would see tanks in the street, we had to move to shelters or metro stations, live with the fear of being hit by a bomb 24/7, or leave everything that you have built and flee to a neighbor country.

I must admit that my views are a bit narrow and probably selfish. Unfortunately, wars with devastating consequences to millions of innocent people are happening in several places worldwide and we don’t pay enough attention or support their victims.

I have seen this happening in recent wars and other controversial and damaging matters, such as the Brexit, where the leave.eu leaders had a much better-defined project; or in my home country, where smaller groups impose their radical ideas because they have a well-thought-out project, while the country leaders completely lack a project for the nation.

When you scrutinize these devastating projects, one thing comes clearly across: they are exceptionally well defined. They have a clear purpose (unfortunately a very negative one), they promote fake benefits, they have a powerful and entirely dedicated sponsor, they have unlimited resources, they have a well-defined plan, their communication and propaganda are extraordinarily advanced, and they are ruthless in the implementation.

The scary part is that we don’t know if the attempt to invade Ukraine is the end of the project or just a phase in a horrible grander project.


To read entire Letter to the Editor, click here

How to cite this work: Nieto-Rodriguez, A. (2022). On Ukraine: The Undesirable Power of Projects, Letter to the Editor, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue III, March. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/pmwj115-Mar2022-Nieto-Rodriguez-on-Ukraine-the-power-of-projects.pdf