The 2014 Sochi Olympic Project: The prize of gold had gone up!

14 February 2014
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As we are in the thick of it following our favorite athletes grace the Olympic stage and podium at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, I’m always amazed at the enormity, sweat equity, planning and cost that result in the Winter Games capturing the world’s attention every four years.  From a project manager’s point of view each and every Olympic project has become an amazing case study in what works and fails in planning and managing large-scale projects, and nothing remains more true in this statement than with these current games in Sochi.

Originally budgeted at $12 Billion, the Sochi Olympics very quickly ballooned this figure to 4 times that amount costing the Russians a whopping $51 Billion dwarfing even the 2008 Beijing figures that concluded at $44 Billion.  Along with major cost overruns these games were riddled with controversies around safety, politics and corruption.  That aside the Olympic Park at Sochi is still an amazing feat that includes 183 infrastructure projects demonstrating that unlimited budgets and resources can deliver large scale projects in a relatively short period of time that can even be visible from space!

The truth is, there are many lessons that can be learned from the ongoing games in Sochi (both positive and negative),  including the overall legacy and vision of the project that remains relatively the same for every Olympic games.  Although the games themselves are seen as a global symbol of human sportsmanship and harmony, the project that result in the Olympics tends to be a platform for host country’s to demonstrate their pride and position in the world.  That being said, the Sochi project definitely sends the message that the this year’s host country spared no expense in delivering a remarkable venue that will be remembered for years.  Imagine how easy planning would be, if all project managers can take advantage of unlimited resourced and funds in their projects!  Oh well…we can always dream!

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