The E-ELT as a whole could be classified as an extremely challenging project. More precisely, it should be defined as an array of many different sub-challenges, which comprise technical, logistical and managerial matters. This paper reviews some of these critical challenges, in particular those related to the Dome and the Main Structure, suggesting ways to face them in the most pragmatic way possible. Technical challenges for the Dome and the Main Structure are mainly related to the need to upscale current design standards to an order of magnitude larger design. Trying a direct design escalation is not feasible; it would not work. A design effort is needed to cross hybridize current design standards with technologies coming from other different applications. Innovative design is therefore not a wish but a must. And innovative design comes along with design risk. Design risk needs to be tackled from two angles: on the one hand through thorough design validation analysis and on the other hand through extensive pre-assembly and testing. And, once again, full scale integrated pre-assembly and testing of extremely large subsystems is not always possible. Therefore, defining a comprehensive test plan for critical components, critical subsystems and critical subassemblies becomes essential. Logistical challenges are linked to the erection site. Cerro Armazones is a remote site and this needs to be considered when evaluating transport and erection requirements. But it is not only the remoteness of the site that needs to be considered. The size of both Dome and Main Structure require large construction cranes and a well defined erection plan taking into account pre-assembly strategies, limited plan area utilization, erection sequence, erection stability during intermediate stages and, very specifically, efficient coordination between the Dome and the Main Structure erection processes. Managerial issues pose another set of challenges in this project. Both the size of the project and its special technical characteristics require specific managerial skills. Due to the size of the project it becomes essential to effectively manage and integrate a large number of suppliers and fabricators, of very different nature and geographically distributed. Project management plans need to cope with this situation. Also, extensive on site activities require intensive on site organization in line with large construction management strategies. Finally, the technical edge of the project requires deep technical understanding at management level in order to be able to take sound strategic decisions throughout the project in terms of the overall project quality, cost and schedule.