Project Management Throwback: The Hoover Dam


One of the fastest growing professions in the world today, project management is a field that provides workers with an incredible amount of personal responsibility and a unique position of leadership.

With such a new field that is constantly growing and developing, we don’t have a lot of specific project management to glean practical lessons from. We do however have many other fields to take examples from and see how they can have a major impact on this profession today. One of the biggest projects to take great tips and tricks from is the building of the Hoover Dam.

The Building Process

One of the most massive and easily most impressive feats of human accomplishment, this structure was built from 1931-1936 and cost $833 million to build. Located in Clark County, Arizona, this dam is mainly to control floods and provide irrigation water, as well as producing hydroelectric power for Nevada, Arizona, and California.

One of the most amazing facts about this structure is that it was built two years ahead of schedule and was even under budget, both of which were unheard of during the Great Depression area. It is even more impressive when you take into account the danger of this construction as it cost 112 people their lives while working on it.

The building of the Hoover Dam was awarded to a company called Six Companies Inc., which was a compilation of six different companies that were all at the very top of their professions. Having this kind of expertise was invaluable to the success of the project and is one of the biggest reasons it finished ahead of schedule and under budget.

2JULhpma33Time and Budget Management

The efficiency of the Hoover Dam project gives us one of the key things we can learn from this incredible project: time management and budget management. To finish an incredible feat like this with the time period it took place in shows that any project can be properly managed to meet all restraints whether they are financial or time related.

As a project manager, you have a personal responsibility to properly budget out both time and resources and be as efficient and cost effective as you possibly can. By keeping those on your team honest and consistently checking up on where progress is and how budgets are being adhered to, the more successful you will be in both the short term and long term.

Other Helpful Tips

Another great thing to takeaway from this incredible venture is how the method they used is a great one to follow in the world of project management. From conception, execution, down to closeout, this is one of the most successful strategies you can still implement today. By detailing everything out in the beginning and following each step through, your success rate will be much higher in the long run on whatever project you may be working on.

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