Landing on the moon

Uncategorized Mar 15, 2020

What does landing the lunar module on the moon in 1969 and visual project management in 2020 have in common?

I’ll tell you later… ;) 

It’s 2020 folks.
Looking at that number still makes me think of some of the futuristic fantasy movies I grew up with:
‘A Space Odyssey’ was set in 2001
‘Back To The Future’ was set in 2015
‘Blade Runner’ was set in 2019

So, we are living in the future. Or, at least the future as imagined 30-40-50 years ago. 

I’m not old enough to remember the lunar landing in July 1969. And I don’t know just how ‘big of a deal’ it was when it happened. BUT, I started my 2020 supporting the conference PCMA Convening Leaders in San Francisco, and had the privilege of experiencing former NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz on stage.

He took us through the toughest day of his life: The day he was responsible for making ALL the right decisions and directing the landing on the moon.

And we were ALL taken back to that control room, and through the small steps and decisions, that led to the successful landing on the moon. And we saw the video of the last 2 minutes. And after the countdown, and the landing, we ALL stood up and applauded this feat.

And I couldn’t help but think: When they could do this 50 years ago, with less computer power than I have in my smartphone, then what should we be able to do today?

And no… I don’t have an answer (and I don’t know if there is one).

But, what does the moon landing have to do with project management? EVERYTHING!

This was also ‘just’ a project.

  • A project with a strong purpose, and a clear goal.
  • A project where the goal was broken down into deliveries, and every delivery broken down to tasks.
  • A project with clear go/no-go points.
  • A project with clear roles.
  • And a project with communication at its core.
  • ‘Just’ a project.

Gene Kranz showed pictures of pages from the flight directors manual.

It had more than 2000 scenarios described.

More than 2000 possible problems that they could think of, and all of them had a procedure to be followed.

THAT is risk analysis! 

But what does it have to do with VISUAL project management in 2020?

Below you see a photo that shows a small excerpt from the Flight Directors manual.

See the drawings?

These VERY SIMPLE drawings, was a big part of the description in the manual.

They showed VISUALLY where the lunar module should be, at what time, and so on.

Step by step.

Making it visible, making it clear, making it easier to understand.

And that is what visual project management is all about.

Using visual thinking and visual tools, to help you and your team, getting a shared understanding of your project. And making it easier for you to create visibility, engagement and ownership on your projects. 

If you want to learn how you can use visual tools, or ‘just’ be inspired to grow your competencies as a project manager, or team leader, or consultant, then I have two options for you right now: 


I’m giving a one day introduction to visual project management, at a great venue in Amsterdam.

And since it’s on a Friday, it will be a GREAT opportunity to combine with a weekend trip, exploring this amazing city.

Read more and sign up here: Amsterdam Workshop


If you can’t make it to Amsterdam, or just feel like taking things at your own pace, then you can sign up for my online course. You can start when you want, and do it at your own pace.

It has 5 modules that releases over 5 weeks.

Read more and sign up here: Online Course 

What I did at the PCMA Convening Leaders conference?

I supported my good colleague Michelle Boos Stone with building out an experience wall that offered great interaction with all attendees at the conference, and I also did 4 graphic recordings of concurrent sessions – all 4 were very interesting and relevant. 

Here's a little taste

Thank you for your time!


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