The Story Behind the Company Name “Windward”
Growing up near the coast in northern New England I was introduced at an early age to an activity highly impacted by the whims of mother nature. When first learning to sail a small boat, I loved that it was so easy to sail downwind. Just sit back, relax, and let the wind do all the work. However, there was a price to be paid to get back home. Although the wind would still do the work, you had to master the art of negotiating with the wind to make any progress toward home.
The distance I had to travel to get home was far more than the distance traveled on the easy downwind ride. A sailor quickly learns the art of ‘tacking’ to make progress to windward. When ‘tacking’ you are not able to head directly toward your destination but must ‘fall off’ to one side or the other to make progress toward your ultimate safe harbor.
As my adult work life activities began to be centered more and more around managing or assessing projects, I realized that projects are all about dealing with adversity. Projects have specific tasks and objectives that must be accomplished – just like a safe arrival at that well protected little harbor on the rocky coast of Maine, several miles ahead and directly into the wind.
All projects have constraints and often there are multiple obstacles trying to inhibit progress! All projects have uncertainty, or potential risk events, some of which have been identified, but not all. This is definitely true when navigating a small boat along a rocky coast!
To successfully complete projects we must carefully plan our route, while recognizing that at times we must tack like in the sailboat. To arrive at the intended destination we need to know how far that adverse wind has blown us off course, and what it will take to get back on track to arrive at our safe harbor as quickly, and safely, as possible.
When forming our company, we felt that Windward Project Management described the world in which project managers live and thrive! It seemed that ‘working our way to windward’ was the epitome of the project manager’s world!
John Buxton, Founder and President
Windward Project Management