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“We have to prepare our project managers for this emotional
hole – the day when no one wants anything from them.”
Statoil is active in more than 30 countries. Are there
centralized standards which apply to all locations?
Of course. They affect all areas such as organization,
planning, the project calendar, safety and security. The
standardization of work processes is the basis for the
development of continuity; without them, every shot is
off target. Still, local applicability is a decisive require-
ment for each central regulation. The conditions on the
ground vary widely and need to be taken into account.
Some plants are older than others, they are made of dif-
ferent materials and have individual technical designs,
equipment and specifications. Employees come from
different cultures. The variations are sizeable.
Does that lead to personal and interdepartmental
It can, yes. We sometimes have very spirited discussions
in which opinions tend to collide, especially regarding
issues of risk management and exemptions from stan-
dard work processes – there are long lists of issues.
There will naturally be different views because of the
different professional specialties. We have to focus on
Project management sounds as if it can be an emotional
It is. When I took my first job as a project manager, I
thought, “Wow, this is now my moment.” I have a strong
sense of pride in my work. It is very motivating.
Is it daunting?
When you start planning you suddenly realize that ev-
erythingis boundless, the project is almost impossible
to believe. It seems to have no beginning and no end
and sometimes you wonder how you will ever manage
But somehow you do.
Yes – as soon as the initial planning has been done,
there is a framework, a structure that makes you feel
secure and makes you want to get going. That’s a good