Santas project management secrets

We take a light hearted look at how Santa might project manage the worldwide production and delivery of toys and gifts in time for Christmas Day. 

What are Santas Key Performance Indicators?

  1. To be number one for worldwide production and delivery of Christmas toys and gifts;
  2. To be consistently rated high or extremely high in customer satisfaction;
  3. To be the most recognised "brand" in the World.

What are Santas main challenges?

  • Complex production processes; ability to manage fluctuating supply and demand;
  • Consistency; he needs to deliver the gifts and toys on time, each year;
  • Rising costs; the elves, although only 'seasonal' workers, are becoming more expensive, and the reindeer are demanding more sophisticated harnesses. Rudolph is particularly high-maintenance asking for a new coat and even antler covers!
  • Uneven skill-set; the elves work very hard but are not the best project managers;
  • Time-management; delivering Christmas presents around the world in just 24 hours presents a mammoth challenge;
  • Pressure from online delivery firms such as Amazon;
  • Competitors pretending to be the real Santa!

So how does Santa meet these challenges?

  • Historical experience and know-how; he is the best and only person for the job!;
  • Learns from past experience; he gathers and learns from previous years and uses that knowledge to improve delivery. For example, he knows that reindeers run faster after they have had lots of carrots!;
  • Repeatable processes; his project goal is the same every time; he knows exactly what he has to do;
  • Continuously optimises his delivery; he looks for ways to speed up delivery, for example streamlining his sleigh for extra speed;
  • Team work; Santa makes sure that he has a great team of elves working with, and supporting, him. They know that they are part of a unique and amazing group and, therefore, morale is consistently high because the elves are very satisfied in their work;
  • Training; he continually ensures that the elves are fully trained, and have all the tools they need to complete their tasks successfully;
  • Communication; Santa is a very good communicator, keeping the elves fully informed about any product or delivery changes and the elves have the opportunity to provide feedback, for example, if a task is taking longer than expected;
  • Contingency; each year Santa makes sure that he has some extra presents on his sleigh.  If a baby is born on the stroke of Christmas Day, he or she won't miss out;
  • Manages risk; he keeps a close eye on the weather report and factors in any possible changes in his proposed route around the world;
  • 'What If' scenario planning; what if one of the elves is sick, or his sleigh malfunctions?
  • Documents processes; Santa continuously monitors all aspects of his production and delivery.  He makes sure that every time he finds an issue – for example, the family at number 42 have had their chimney removed - that he documents this in his 'Santa Blueprint'.

Santas project management secrets

Santa is passionate about knowledge management and has built an effective knowledge management strategy to capture, document and share knowledge, ensuring there is a process in place to pass on knowledge to others, especially when the older and wiser elves retire.

He is also an expert Risk Manager. Over the years he has learned and developed the skills to create an effective risk management strategy enabling him to anticipate and mitigate any risks quickly; particularly relating to product development and the increasing volatility of the weather systems around the world.

Over the years Santa has been able to make refinements to production and delivery of the toys and gifts. He has found ways to streamlines processes and improve the delivery to meet increasing customer demand; as the world population grows each year, he needs to produce and deliver even more presents in the same timeframe.

This has been absolutely vital to maintaining optimum delivery standards and meeting increasingly high-levels of customer satisfaction.

The strategy that Santa has adopted, of continuous project learning, has enabled him to continuously improve his production and delivery strategy. This strategy has helped him build his Santa Blueprint of the best way of producing and delivering toys and gifts around the world in 24 hours so that everyone receives theirs on Christmas Day.

For more from Santa and his project management secrets, tune into our webcast Project Santa - Around the World in One Night.

We hope you enjoyed our light-hearted tale and wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Festive Wishes,


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