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Episode 437: Brightline Is Bridging the Gap Between Strategy Design and Delivery (Free)

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R V Vargas
Ricardo Viana Vargas, Executive Director, Brightline

There's no shortage of great ideas, whether you are going through a transformation or adapting to digital innovation, but not every great idea becomes a reality. Pinpointing 'why' is at the core of the Brightline initiative's mission.

Brightline ( is a new strategic arm of Project Management Institute (PMI)®. And as stated on the website: "The Brightline™ Initiative delivers insights and solutions that empower leaders to successfully transform their organization’s vision into reality through strategic initiative management."

Today, we welcome Ricardo Vargas (LinkedIn Profile) who is Brightline's Executive Director.

This interview was recorded one day before the Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We talk about the history of the initiative, the 10 principles developed to help your organization bridge the costly and wasteful gap between strategy design and delivery, and we look at how you can apply this on your projects. And we also identify issues that prevent strategies to become reality.

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Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Ricardo Vargas: In this episode of The Project Management Podcast™, we talk about the Brightline initiative. It delivers insights and solutions that empower leaders to successfully transform their organization’s vision into reality through strategic initiative management. It’s all about the connection between ideas and reality.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner. We are coming to you live one day before the 2019 PMI Global Conference in Philadelphia.


Cornelius Fichtner: And with me right now is Ricardo Vargas from the Brightline Initiative. Hello, Ricardo! Welcome to the Podcast!

Ricardo Vargas: Hello, Cornelius! Yeah, very nice to see you again. Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, and we shouldn’t forget. You have your own podcast, right?

Ricardo Vargas: Oh, yes, yes, yes.

Cornelius Fichtner: Five Minutes, yeah.

Ricardo Vargas: Yeah, it’s a different one. It’s just a way that I share some of my ideas. So it takes 5 minutes and every time, I record about different topic, yeah.

Cornelius Fichtner: But the reason you are here today is Brightline. Tell me, what is Brightline? Three weeks ago, I didn’t know it existed.

Ricardo Vargas: Brightline, let me tell you a little bit of the history. The Brightline intention was to increase the awareness and the interest of very senior leaders in the government and the society around project delivery and project capabilities. So basically what was the intent is to target C-level executives and decision makers to increase their awareness that ideas do not sustain by themselves. You must have an execution arm.

And the challenge that we face when we started is that unfortunately, when we talk about project and project management, these leaders, most of the time, they think this is very operational thing, that they should not take care or embrace that someone on their teams should take care of that. So every time you come to a CEO and start talking about projects and deliver, they immediately think: “Oh let me put you in contact with someone that takes care of my IT area or my construction area,” and they don’t think that they apart. They think that their mission is to innovate and to envision the future.

So what Brightline comes is that ideas are worthless if they are not able to be implemented and generate results. So we started with that in mind. So trying to bridge this gap that exists on the understanding that strategy you create only happens if you are able to deliver. So this is exactly why Brightline was created three years ago.

Cornelius Fichtner: Let me make sure I get this right. So we, project managers, understand if you have a strategic plan and you want to transform your company, you need a project to go from today to tomorrow. But C-level executives don’t understand that or not all of them? And that’s where you are trying to help them? Ricardo Vargas: Yes, that’s a very good approach. But let me explain. I’m not telling that they don’t understand that this happens. They just think that this happens.

Cornelius Fichtner: Somehow.

Ricardo Vargas: That it’s just…

Cornelius Fichtner: Magic.

Ricardo Vargas: Okay, now this is the paper. Let’s do this transformation. Let’s shift and it’s done. And it’s not. Because the painful process is to get things real. For example, when we talk bout self-driven cars, okay? When you think about self-driven cars, most of the articles we see today are about the technology around self-driven or artificial intelligence and this. But when things get real, when you put these cars on the street, there is a massive amount of things that people need to be aware. It’s not so simplistic.

What do you plan to do in the case of an accident? How the legal framework will target this? How do you with the infrastructure, with the people and the human side, something that Brightline is taking care of. What is the human dimension and the impact of that on the people that drive people that work on the gas stations, people that does maintenance in the roads. So it’s a much more complex. So it’s not just a simplistic…

Cornelius Fichtner: It’s on your culture.

Ricardo Vargas: Oh, absolutely. So this is exactly why we are trying, I would say, educate. I don’t want to say just educate but trying to make them more aware that there’s two sides of the same coin. It’s the same coin, but there’s two sides and not just one side.

Cornelius Fichtner: Without project management, you really can’t get it done.

Ricardo Vargas: Without your project delivery capability, you cannot, without.

And I don’t want the people say: “Oh, we need a very formal, we did…” But without this changing mindset that you need to deliver the results; you need to achieve that. And it’s not easy to get things done. Just by acknowledging that there is a challenge, you are already increasing your chances of getting [literal].

Cornelius Fichtner: Why do you think it is that we, project managers, I mean to me this is so obvious and clear and understood. Why is it that we project managers just see this yet when you go to the C-level, there is an awareness lacking?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

PDUs: Business Acumen, Strategy design, Strategy implementation

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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