“Cruising” with Project Management

Ok, so the title is corny but while on an Alaskan cruise last week I actually thought quite a bit about project management. What I’d like to do is share a few examples of what I saw and then ask for your thoughts on different ways project management enters into our daily lives but that we might completely miss.

This intricate dance begins the minute you check in online. Since there are approximately 2,300 passengers (this doesn’t include crew) who will be sailing, each person is given a 30 minute window during which they can arrive at the dock to board the boat. This really minimizes inefficiency of too many people arriving at once and having to stand in EXTREMELY long lines. See photo below. Once you check in your luggage is taken and put in a room that is organized by floor so that after everyone is on board and has checked in they deliver the luggage right to your room. You don’t have to deal with it or worry about it, it just shows up at your door!

Photo 1

Once we made it to our stateroom we started to look around outside and noticed the two pictures below.

Photo 2 Photo 3

This is a small sample of the food that they bring on board for every cruise and this really made me think about the Food and Beverage Director and how complicated it must be to provide food for 3,300 people (this includes the crew). There are SIXTEEN dining options on board but to help manage it two of the restaurants serve the exact same menu all week, one of the restaurants is a huge buffet serving the same meals all week and then you have a little variety from the other menus, but not many choices.

Lastly, one of the most efficient things they’ve done is to provide you one single card that acts as your room key and your bank card. AT check in you provide a credit card that they then link to your cruise pass and anytime you buy a drink, buy a meal or make a purchase at the duty free, they simply swipe your card and no real money exchanges hands. I also think this is a genius idea from a sales perspective because you really don’t feel like you’re spending money – its when you review your final bill before disembarking that you realize the money you’ve really spent!

I’m curious if others have examples of project management in their everyday lives (besides jobs) that they might overlook but that are truly pretty amazing, like the Davidson Glacier pictured below.

Davidson Glacier

2 thoughts on ““Cruising” with Project Management

  1. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney

    Your trip lessons remind me of my trip to Walt Disney World. The first thought that came to my mind as I entered the Magic Kingdom was that how do they keep all of these people entertained, fed, and also keep them coming back year after year? Here is a summary of my experience:
    a) The teamwork is amazing. Obviously, there have been changes in leadership, but one thing always remained the same: the magical experience. There are plenty of helpers who are willing to go above and beyond to answer your simple question. This requires proper training, constant team building exercises, and creating a culture.
    b) Everything you see is magical. Also, everything has a meaning or purpose. The planning, construction, right strategy, and contingency plans must be robust to make the execution seamless and successful.
    c) Disney magic park bracelet bands idea is similar to your credit card experience; except the bands come in various colors and the kids can use it to access rides. The NY Times had an article, which mentions that the bracelets cost Disney about a $1billion. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/02/business/billion-dollar-bracelet-is-key-to-magical-kingdom.html
    To summarize, World Disney World makes a great experience flawlessly and if we look at closely we can see that project management was involved in each step of the way.

  2. Thank you for your blog post, Shauna. I found it interested that you found examples of project management while taking a vacation. Project management is apparently everywhere!

    I have chosen to share a project management example from my professional experience rather than from a recereation experience. To start, I was a supervisor at an industrial supplies company when I was given my first customer service project. We were asked to improve the response time for any customer e-mails or phone calls. Originally, the computer or phone system would delegate specific phone calls or e-mails to specific customer service representatives based on a given account. Each customer service representative would be responsible for specific customer accounts. However, the management team found that this method was delaying the response time to customers. We found that our representatives would often times be out of town or busy working on a different projects before given the opportunity to respond to the customer. This was an issue.

    After much contemplation, we decided to have all customer e-mails or phone calls funnelled through one general e-mail inbox or main phone line. If a customer service representative was ready to answer a e-mail or call, they could go into the general e-mail or main phone line and answer the next e-mail or call waiting in line.

    As a result, the customer response time was decreased significantly. We were also able to measure employee performance based on the number of phone calls or e-mails answered. We found this first come, first serve method to be very effective and would recommend to other companies as well.

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