This War changes everything


Old themes revisited,

Black Elephants (again, bigger)

and a New View of Risk



By David Pells

Managing Editor

Addison, Texas, USA


Maybe it’s a good thing that I have delayed writing about this terrible war for three months.  Every day there are new developments, some progress but more death and destruction in Ukraine, some reasons for hope but escalating threats and dangers, more news about economic and political fallout. And speaking of fallout, the risk of nuclear catastrophe has not been zero for 70 years, but now it’s not even close.  Russia is threatening and it could really happen this time.  And that’s not the only big concern.  But I am getting ahead of myself…

When the Russian army invaded the independent European country of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, I think few people were very surprised.  After all, Russia had been amassing an invasion force of 100,000+ troops on Ukrainian borders for weeks.  But in the weeks since then, millions of people around the world have been shocked at the brutality and wanton destruction of Ukrainian cities, infrastructure, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and lives.

Photo: Bombed apartment blocks in Mariupol, Ukraine on April 5, 2022. Courtesy of YahooNews.com.

It is now clear to all, at least those with access to western media or the internet, that Russia’s goal for this massive illegal invasion is nothing less than complete destruction of the Ukrainian country and society. It is also a brutal 19th century land grab of the worst possible kind. The Russians claim that the Ukrainians are Nazis, but it’s just the opposite.  The Russians have tried to do to Ukraine exactly what Hitler’s Nazis did to Poland in 1939 to start World War II, massive blitzkrieg, invasion and destruction!

Of course, in hindsight, everyone should have anticipated this following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 and its annexation of The Crimea, and with Russian President Putin’s increasing authoritarianism and interference with Western democracies (through cyberattacks, misinformation, election interferences and support of right-wing political movements.)  But now it’s a lot more serious.  And dangerous!

It seems unbelievable that a sovereign European country could be invaded in the 21st century, but it has happened. By now, we all know the reasons. Ukrainians were working to transform their country into a free society, with free elections, free press, free markets and less corruption, all moving towards becoming a modern European nation. Ukraine was moving rapidly away from Russian influence, and it was succeeding.  As a model for social transformation, Ukraine became a threat to President Putin and the corrupt leadership in Moscow.

The big question now is: could the war in Ukraine lead to World War 3? If so, what should we be doing to avoid or prevent total war, or respond?  If not world war, how bad will it get and what are the ramifications for us as individuals and as project management leaders and professionals?

I believe the answer is, we’re already there!


I didn’t include this in the title for this editorial, as I did not want to alarm everyone before reading.  But it seems to me that we are in a global war from at least five perspectives, all of which have been reinforced by experts in the USA in recent weeks.


To read entire editorial, click here

How to cite this paper: Pells, D.L. (2021). This War changes everything, Old themes revisited, Black Elephants (again, bigger) and a New View of Risk, editorial, PM World Journal, Vol. XI, Issue V, May. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/pmwj117-May2022-Pells-war-changes-everything-editorial.pdf

About the Author

David L. Pells

Managing Editor, PMWJ
Managing Director, PMWL


David L. Pells, PMI Fellow, HonFAPM, ISIPM, PMA, SOVNET is Managing Editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (www.pmworldjournal.com) and Managing Director of the PM World Library (www.pmworldlibrary.net). David is an internationally recognized leader in the field of professional project management with more than 40 years of experience on a variety of programs and projects, including engineering, construction, energy, defense, transit, technology and nuclear security, and project sizes ranging from thousands to billions of dollars. He occasionally acts as project management advisor for U.S. national laboratories and international programs, and currently serves as an independent advisor for a major U.S. national security program.

David Pells has been an active professional leader in the United States since the 1980s, as founder and president of several PMI chapters, founder of PMI’s first SIG (Project Earth), and member of the PMI board of directors twice.  He was founder and chair of the Global Project Management Forum (1995-2000), an annual meeting of leaders of PM associations from around the world. David was awarded PMI’s Person of the Year award in 1998 and Fellow Award, PMI’s highest honor, in 1999. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM) in the UK; the Instituto Italiano di Project Management (ISIMP) in Italy; and Project Management Associates (PMA) in India.

Former managing editor of PM World Today, he is the creator, editor and publisher of the PM World Journal (ISSN: 2330-4880).  David has a BA in Business Administration from the University of Washington and an MBA from Idaho State University in the USA.  He has published widely and spoken at conferences and events worldwide.  David lives near Dallas, Texas and can be contacted at editor@pmworldjournal.com

To see other works by David Pells, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/david-l-pells/