The Carnival in Rio is a massive scale event, known worldwide as an extravagant four-day festival of Brazilian culture, namely the dance of samba. The samba dancers, gathered by teams, or ‘schools’ compete every year for the most prestigious award in Brazil – the Samba Parade Championship. Thirteen teams and more than a thousand of dancers take part in a grand show that entails more than eighty carnival floats with various inventive decorations and requires more than four thousand costumes for the participants. The carnival is taking place in the ‘sambadrome’ which takes half a mile and consists of many technological infrastructure items to ensure the television broadcasting and proper sound and light arrangements. The samba show is a competition that is judged by forty judges seventy thousand jury fans observing the show. As each samba school has various resources at their disposal, the amounts spent on the preparation for the championship differ: one of the leading samba schools, Vila Isabel, spends around $1.5 million on the design of the carnival floats, costumes, the design of the setting, choreography, and music. The funding for the preparation comes from sponsorship, merchandise, and TV broadcasting. Carnival in Rio gathers over a billion spectators from more than 190 countries in the world every year. The broadcasting company’s workforce amounts for almost two thousands of employees who make sure that the broadcasting runs smoothly since one of the primary profit sources is sponsors placement during the broadcast and every mistake can cost a lot. Global Television is the top broadcasting company in Brazil and maintains the installation of the equipment which entails twenty-two miles of cable, three hundred power lights, six large cranes, and fifty camera stands. Sound setting is another significant responsibility during the preparation of the Carnival: miles of cable, hundreds of speakers, eight complex computer interfaces are needed for the best sound for the show.
The documentary by National Geographic showed the preparation for the Carnival of Rio, particularly the arrangements of samba schools. One of the leading samba schools, Vila Isabel, is a famous, established favorite of the Carnival judges and has previously won the Championship repeatedly. Their sponsorship base allows them to spend a considerable amount of funds on the preparation and that fact reflects on the fluidity of the organizational process. The operations are organized in a well-paced manner, with proper delegation of tasks and central execution and direction. The preparation of Vila Isabel was shown through the perspective of the designer of the show and the president of the samba school. Both of them have shown the leadership and management in the context of working for the best result (‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) 2000 Edition Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data’, no date). Leadership was also displayed by the key employees responsible for the critical factors crucial for winning the Championship, which demonstrated the excellent organizational structure.

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The other positive aspect of the displayed project management during Vila Isabel’s setup for the show was that most of the tasks were completed ahead of time that allowed easy-flowing preparation and prevented unnecessary chaos. The deadlines for each task’s completion was articulated therefore there were no uncompleted activities because “once scheduled, the milestones may be difficult to shift” (‘Project Time Management’, no date).

However, there were inevitable setbacks that prevented the fluidity of the Vila Isabel samba school during the preparation for the show. One of such negative aspects was the absence of scope planning in the executive team of the samba school. The evidence to this setback was the fact that the carnival float was designed without regard to the surroundings of the show location, the sambadrome, that resulted in float being unable to drive through the avenue smoothly. Such omitted factor as trees that stopped the float because its’ height was not accordingly adjusted has caused a scope creep for the preparation of Vila Isabel’s show. According to the best practices, the scope changes can be predicted by gathering information and controlling the potential unexpected dynamics as well as developing a management strategy is scope changes do occur (‘CDC Unified Process Practices Guide: Project Scope Planning’, no date).

An additional challenge faced by Vila Isabel’s management of the samba show preparation can be judged by the aftermath of the Championship, namely the fact that the principal employees that ensured the fluidity of the school’s performance were fired or quit their jobs voluntarily. Such drawback in the human resources shows a weak corporate culture and may have influenced the fact that Vila Isabel did not win the Samba Parade Championship. One of the critical factors influencing the project’s success is its’ organizational culture, and various studies prove that “organizational culture has a significant influence on project performance and the long-term success of organizations” (Yazici, 2009). Thus, the development of a strong ethical and cultural code of conduct among the team members is crucial for project’s success.

Overall, the documentary about the preparation of the Carnival of Rio has presented an overview of challenges faced by the organizers and participants. As a large-scale event, the Samba Parade Championship required a thorough preparation and inclusion of many aspects influencing the successful end-product, namely the show. Project plan development, project plan execution, and integrated change control are the critical processes required for the well-coordinated and well-paced event (‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) 2000 Edition Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data’, no date). Finally, the project scope management is another fundamental factor that should not be overlooked by the project managers and executives since scope definition, planning and change management (‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) 2000 Edition Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data’, no date) can prevent the possible unexpected external challenges and contribute to the success of the project.

  • ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK ® Guide) 2000 Edition Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data’ (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 30 October 2017).
  • ‘CDC Unified Process Practices Guide: Project Scope Planning’ (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 30 October 2017).
  • ‘Project Time Management’ (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 30 October 2017).
  • Yazici, H. J. (2009) ‘The role of project management maturity and organizational culture in perceived performance’, Project Management Journal, 40(3), pp. 14–33. doi: 10.1002/pmj.20121.