Project Management Institute

The story behind the games

the XV Olympic Winter Games and the X Pan American Games.

Hosting major international, multi-event athletic competitions is a complex process well-served by using standard project management techniques and practices to accomplish the production’s objectives. This two-part article examines two such competitions: the XV Olympic Winter Games hosted by Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1988; and the X Pan American Games hosted by Indianapolis, Indiana, USA in 1987. In doing so, it tells the story of how each host successfully realizes these productions in relation to each competition’s schedule, budget, and strategic intent. It details the behind-the-scenes activities that each host managed—and the project management practices they used—to ensure that all competition activities happened as planned and that the multitude of competitors and audiences were served and accommodated as required. The first article also discusses the role that a computer-based project planning and scheduling (CBPPS) system played in helping the Winter Olympic Games organizers plan, implement, manage, monitor, and closeout the 30,000 activities involved in realizing this production; it also describes the way CBPPS enabled them to develop contingency plans and reschedule events because of weather conditions. The second article explains implementation strategy used for 1987 Pan American Games; it describes the production’s key risks, risk management plan, problem-solving process, and procedure for managing services to the athletes.
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