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Managing Projects in a Hostile Environment

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Are you able to bring an idea to fruition? Are you hindered in the initiation and execution of a project? Is the environment surrounding your project hostile? Does it seem that everyone is trying to close your project down? Then this workshop is for you. You will see how some projects can not only survive in a hostile environment but positively thrive.

This workshop looks at how a hostile environment can hinder the initiation and execution of a project. In today’s world executives and senior management are more worried about their projects as they become more aware of high project failure rates across industries. Projects are under more scrutiny and attention from PMOs and also other internal projects which are more than likely to be competing for the same resources. In reality no project is completely safe from being challenged.

The workshop juxtaposes the "Great Escape" case study and modern projects by looking at common problems like the challenges of initiating a project without sponsors, and getting it enough support to get it through early the stage gates. The Great Escape from the prison camp Stalag Luft III is widely regarded as one of the most audacious and daring escape attempts of the 20th century. But as an event in March 1944, set in dire circumstances, what actually happened? How was the escape planned and executed as a project? How did it get around numerous obstacles in a habitat designed to be escape proof? How was the project tracked? If you were faced with similar circumstances, what what you do? In today’s world business people are grappling with numerous obstacles in planning and executing projects in a hostile environment. Many of these challenges are not unlike those faced by the brave men of Stalag Luft III. If you had gone through such an experience, what would you learn that could serve you in your work today?

Through this interactive workshop participants will be given a chance to use their skills to tackle some of the most daunting project management problems ever faced by a team. They will analyze the escape as a project through the modern lens of the PMBOK® nine knowledge areas. Everything in Stalag Luft III was set up to prevent escape. The project planning and preparation were hindered everyday by new risks. The environment was ripe for a project failure. Yet the escape committee (project team) was able to organize itself and mitigate the risks it faced. Ideas and solutions were tested continuously and refined in a determined atmosphere where everything was thought possible. Throughout the project, no written project plan was ever produced yet planning was done extensively. The escape committee overcame continuous difficulties and ran the project in an agile fashion to keep it on schedule, and within the budget and resources available to them. Even seemingly less obvious areas like quality and procurement management will be explored in this workshop.

Designed under the Lessons-from-History series, this Best Practice in Project Management Workshop will breathe new life into project management learning. The workshop takes lessons from the historical project and enables you to recognize the parallels in your own organization and projects. You will undertake a range of practical exercises throughout the day enabling you to relate lessons back to your own projects and apply new learning to your own projects.

This fully interactive one-day workshop incorporates principles from leading project management standards such as the PMBOK®Guide and PRINCE2, but also demonstrates that successful Project Management does not need sophisticated tools. Upon the successful completion of this workshop, you will be able to better utilize project management and identify warning signs that could take a project off track, and how to counter these.

Entertaining and full of intriguing historical details, the workshop helps project managers to think about the impact of decisions they make every day.


Upon the successful completion of this workshop, participants will be able to better utilize project management and identify warning signs that could take a project off track, and how to counter these. For example:

  • How individuals can initiate a project in a very hostile environment with seemingly no budgets and resources.
  • How individuals can prioritize problems and thereby focus slender resources on the most critical tasks.
  • How the careful organization of individuals into groups that can work on specific activities based on their skill-sets and interests can create a unified high-performance project team.
  • How a project’s inbuilt agility can enable it to survive interruptions and attempts to shut it down.
  • How Project Management Knowledge Areas (integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk, procurement) can be intuitively used in project initiating, planning and execution.



Project Management methodology is not limited to just project managers and can be successfully used throughout the workplace by a broad range of employees. From coordinators through to middle and senior levels of management, anyone who has ever been tasked with "getting the job done" can benefit from attending these workshops:

  • Are you responsible for Managing Projects in your workplace?
  • Do you contribute to project outcomes?
  • Managers, Project Managers and members of teams responsible for contributing to project outcomes will all benefit from the insights gained from this unique workshop.


The workshop incorporates principles from leading project management standards such as the PMBOK® Guide and PRINCE2, and it also demonstrates that successful project management does not need sophisticated tools.


There is no prerequisite for this course. It functions as a stand-alone course.


You will receive a course binder containing copies of presentation slides, case studies, templates, exercises, and suggested solutions.


This workshop is based on the book Project Lessons from The Great Escape by Dr. Mark Kozak-Holland. Please watch the brief video below for a description of the case study around which this workshop is centered.


PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

course info

Course ID: MK-1805
Course Level: Intermediate
Duration: 1 day

upcoming sessions

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PMI Talent TriangleThe following table provides the breakdown of the professional development units (PDUs) for this course aligned with the PMI Talent TriangleTM.

  Tech. Ldrshp. Strat. & Bus.
PMP 2.25 3.5 1.25
PgMP 2.25 3.5 1.25
PfMP 1.25 3.5 1.25
PMI-ACP 1.5 3.5 1.25
PMI-SP 0 3.5 1.25
PMI-RMP 2.25 3.5 1.25
PMI-PBA 1 3.5 1.25

The three columns in the above table are Technical Project Management, Leadership, and Strategic & Business Management.

Other Credits

Other professional (re)certification credits are available, including:

  • Certified Business Analyst Professionals (CBAPs) earn 7 CDUs (Category 2B)
  • Certified Software Quality Engineers (CSQEs) earn 1 RUs
  • CIPS Information Systems Professionals (ISPs) earn 7 Learning Credits
  • CIPS Information Technology Certified Professional (ITCPs) earn 7 Learning Credits