The $3.3 Million Dollar Pothole


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The $3.3 Million Dollar Pothole


Five workers patching potholes on the highway

Oversight of seemingly small projects can result in devastating consequences.


Recently an article ran in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about a tragic fatal accident where a Columbiana county mother was killed when a truck lost control, due to a pothole. The article caught my eye for two reasons, first because the attorney representing the woman’s family was a high school friend and secondly because this record judgment paid by the taxpayers of Ohio was the result of a pothole that was not fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

So I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with the subject we cover here which is project management? I’ll be glad to make that connection. Since CBA has a long relationship with ODOT we know that at the time of the accident in 2008 ODOT was still using Primavera P3 and SureTrak as their construction project management standards. Since those tools were designed to schedule and track single projects it would be very easy to lose sight of a seemingly small project such as patching this particular pothole in a timely fashion, which was the basis for the record judgment. ODOT has now made the transition to P6 and along with stellar project management capabilities it provides enterprise project portfolio management capabilities by being able to track and manage your whole project portfolio and manage it by exception. This is an important point because knowing when a particular project in your portfolio needs resources or is in danger of not meeting it’s start or finish date enables management to easily spot and address the issues, that as pointed out here, could lead to catastrophic consequences.

Since both P3 and SureTrak were discontinued by Oracle at the end of 2010 many of our customers have migrated to Primavera P6, however they still attempt to use this powerful new product in the same fashion as they did with the older less capable products. In essence they are completely ignoring the enterprise project portfolio features of the product therefore potentially exposing themselves to the same types of oversight issues that exposed ODOT to this record judgment. Some may say managing multiple projects in P6 adds a layer of complexity that previously didn’t exist and I wouldn’t disagree with them, but I would say that trying to manage tens if not hundreds of projects simultaneously without the project portfolio capabilities of P6 increases that level of complexity exponentially. With the help of CBA’s professional services team we can provide the guidance and training necessary to achieve your project management goals and avoid letting a comparatively small project apple spoil your whole project management barrel.


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