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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

fact-based arguments.

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