The presence of coherent and well-developed organizational arrangements is, without a doubt, the most important determinant of project performance. For complex projects, it is advised to create a framework that works to streamline the entire process. A project management framework includes essential parts to plan, manage, and govern projects- the project’s end-to-end cycle. It can help your management and team navigate problems and deadlines while withstanding the weight of unforeseen challenges. This is one of the most important things for the Tarpo team during the Rhino Charge preparation period. Let me explain.

It’s very important that you understand what we mean when we say that we treat the Rhino Charge as a ‘complex project’. A typical large hotel accommodates around 250 guests. For the team, setting up the Rhino Charge campsites can only be compared to setting up two hotels in five days, having them running smoothly, and taking them down after. This ability has garnered a reputation for the team: “Tarpo’s ability to mobilize is something on steroids.”

Organizations often have frameworks in place to manage complex projects that work well over years of carefully crafting them, so much so that this becomes part of their DNA. But no matter how meticulously one plans things, unforeseen challenges are often inevitable. There is a certain amount of chaos that is unavoidable when you plan for a setup that accommodates five hundred beds in the middle of nowhere in a span of a week. A lot of these problems can be avoided by time management. To curb this, each year, the Tarpo team starts planning in the unknown. We do not know the next location, no information on the date, and no idea of the number of people who will attend. 

Ironically, information is key, and the success of such a complex project is dependent on this. Black and white are our friends – murky gray is not. As a project manager, you want to deal with clear and verified information, not assumptions. When assumptions are made and not validated, mistakes get made, timelines get delayed, and projects fail. Anything gray and ambiguous will get used against you in the court of project management. But how do you define such clear lines on a project that has all hands on deck?

Simple but not so simple, the Tarpo team works with a set standard that we’ve worked with to maintain the reputation that we have to date. Project management at this level has become second nature to the team because we’ve done it numerous times for years for many different projects, wide and varied in scope. 

So, what is the framework that Tarpo abides by to make complex projects like Rhino Charge a success?

1.   Being Aware of Dependencies 

We create a network of dependencies that is strictly followed from beginning to end. For instance, sources of water may be the most damning of problems we experience during the set-up. It can cause delay and this delay upsets the stack of cards put together to run a successful camp. 

2.   Enable The Staff to Deliver – 

The goal is to always support those on the ground – in fact “supporting people on the ground” is Tarpo’s documented purpose for existence. Each task is assigned an owner—that is, an activity manager – one person per activity. The activity manager agrees to make sure the work gets done. This is the person who looks at the project manager and says, “That’s my task. I’ll make sure it happens.” This trickles down to the very last person managing the most mundane task. The single point of contact concept is very important, as it reduces confusion and adds clarity about who owns the task.

3.   Focus On the Long Haul 

Things will go wrong. That’s an inevitable fact. What is it then that we can do to counteract this? We analyze everything that went wrong and focus on not repeating the same mistake. The only way to be better is to learn from our mistakes. This is part of our culture.

4.   Focus on Maintaining Reputation

We must refuse anything throwing us off this path. If a request by a client is set to tarnish our reputation, we say no to it. Nothing is worth the risk. 

We take pride in mobilizing as if we’re on steroids….