Everyone breathed easier as the last miners were pulled from the San Jose Mine in Chile as it completed one part of an amazing story of human endurance, a country’s resolve and the power of a positive but realistic outlook. I will not go into the details of the story, but it is a positive outcome in a year of challenges and less than welcome news. So my hat is off to Chile, not only for rescuing the miners but also for the way they did it and what it tells us about IT.
It may sound a little weird, but there were several things that the team in San Jose did that we can all learn from and use to strengthen our resolve and management discipline.
- They set a clear goal with a clearly measurable goal – to rescue the miners. They did what was required to achieve that goal in a step-by-step way, from providing an infrastructure to support the miners both physically and mentally, to marshalling the technology and expertise required to drill the extraction hole.
- They never underestimated the difficulty, but they never let difficulty get in their way. They knew it would be tough and they asked for the resources needed to do the job.
- They under committed and over delivered; particularly as it related to the time it would take to achieve their mission.
Originally the miners were estimated to be free in November or even December. When it got to the actual extraction it was supposed to take 48 hours rather than a little more than a day. In each case, they could have bowed to pressure to accelerate their estimates, they did not. At the same time, the worked toward their goal as fast as reasonable and not allowing the work to expand to fill the estimate. The result was over delivering on their commitments.
The story in Chile is not over, just like an IT project is never over, and I am sure that there will be new information and ideas raised. But for right now,
Three cheers for Chile, the miners and their families.