Projects and bobsledding…more alike than you might think—Part 1

Recently, my wife and I spent five days in Lake Placid, New York, in the heart of beautiful “High Peaks” area of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. You might recall that Lake Placid was the host to the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Winter Games where, in the latter games, the U.S. Hockey Team, literally a bunch of college kids, won the gold medal after defeating one of the strongest teams on earth, the former Soviet Union, a team made up of toughened professional players. It was called “The Miracle on Ice” and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Lake Placid is home to one of the U.S. Olympic Training Centers. I wanted to see the bobsled run at Mt. Van Hoevenberg. It is considered by many to be one of the toughest runs in the world. It was designed by Stanislaus Sentzytsky, a renowned German course designer, that was radically different from European runs (it was longer, steeper and had more pronounced drop in curves). It certainly was a dangerous ride, having taken the lives of Belgian bobsledder Max Houben at “Shady” curve in 1949 and Sergio Zardini  at the “Zig-Zag” curves in 1966. It has been redesigned through the years, but it still looks pretty dangerous to me!

Mt. Van Hoevenberg Olympic Bobsled Run

The goal of blobsledding is simple. The team (2-man, 2-woman, 4-man, 4-woman) who crosses the finish line in the least amount of time wins.  That’s it..any questions? In order to do that, one thing needs to be very clear; that is, the finish line. Yes, the finish line must be clearly demarcated so you know when you’ve crossed it! And, it is clear…here’s a picture I “snapped” while visiting this site which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

Bobsled Run Finish Line…any questions?

How about your project?  To be a winner in many organizations you need to complete the project in the least amount of time too right? Everyone wants it done as quickly as possible don’t they? But that requires crossing the finish line. But how clear is your project’s finish line? Does everyone agree as to what the finish line actually means? Can being “finished” mean different things to different stakeholders?

So, in order to “finish” in the least amount of time, we have to make sure every stakeholder as the same clear, unambiguous concept of where the finish line is. Sometimes, that’s the hardest part of any project…….

Where’s your finish line? Does everyone agree?

German 2-Woman Track Record Holders Sandra Kiriasis & Romy Logsch…they knew where the finish line was!

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