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Project Manager : Project Manager Feb March 2012
WRITTEN OVER 2000 YEARS AGO, The Art of War remains one of the most referenced texts in business and politics. On the surface, the connection between project management and battlefield strategy might seem tenuous. But the application of Sun Tzu’s theory is so seamless that several academics have mapped out what the project management profession can learn from it. At the heart of Sun Tsu’s theory is the simple premise that success, both on the battlefield and in life, relies on a solid grasp on where you are and what’s going on around you. He theorises the essentials of victory into five main points, on which author of Project Management Made Easy, Di Ellis, provides the following project management perspective: He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight Knowing how to pick your battles and prioritise is essential in managing projects. Develop an urgency Richter scale to identify what’s really important and what can be put on hold – attempting to do everything at once will only lead to burn out. He will win who knows how to handle superior and inferior forces Very rarely in your career will you work with a team of equal skill sets. Capitalise on your strong team players but, more importantly, focus on developing the less experienced people in your team. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks Successful team building in any context comes down to unity. The team that is cohesive in spirit and motivation will reach their goal much more quickly than a splintered group working for different purposes. He will win who waits to take the enemy unprepared There may not be one singular force working against your project, but there will always be unexpected challenges that come up along the way. Bad weather. Sponsorship falls through. Technological meltdowns. Pre- emptively plan for disaster by staying organised and always have a Plan B. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign It would be nice to work on a project without dealing with stakeholders and sponsors; but realistically, you’ll come up against overbearing project owners from time to time. Keep them involved by managing their expectations and encouraging them to share their opinions within a controlled environment. ••• THE ART OF WAR Some say Sun Tzu was a philosopher; others a military strategist. But he may just have likely been a project manager. LESSONS FROM SUN TZU’S
Project Manager Dec Jan 2012
Project Manager April May 2012