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Harry Potter and the Seven Project Management Skills: An Epic Plan

PotterLinda Richter takes a project management (and a hilarious) look at the Harry Potter series, taking us along in each of the books and pointing out the project management skills that Harry Potter used, or should have used, for each challenge faced. For instance: in the first books, Harry faces challenges alone. Richter points out that this is a foolish decision for Harry and for any project manager: use the team you have and the skills they possess. Moving on, the article takes a look at the project identification styles of both Harry and Voldemort. Whereas Harry doesn't really have a plan or know what his project is until the sixth book, Voldemort is single minded: he wants to destroy Harry and become immortal. The difference is this: Harry seems to forgot how to create a project plan (or even gather requirements!), while Voldemort has created two much more specific goals. Sure, Voldemort does a poor job of outlining how to kill Harry and gain immortality, but at least he knows which direction he's heading. Coming in at number 4 is this piece of advice from Richter: don't let your scope creep out of hand even if you're fighting a creep: 

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione finally set out to find the remaining Horcruxes, Harry falls victim to almost-fatal  scope creep. The trio spends inordinate amounts of time camped out in various desolate areas wailing about what their next mission should be, unable to focus on identifying the Horcruxes. Didn't that part drive you mad? They make some progress after leaving Godric's Hollow, finding the Sword of Gryffindor and destroying the locket of Salazar Slytherin. But when Harry learns from Luna's father about the Deathly Hallows, he convinces himself that maybe they take priority over Voldemort's Horcruxes.

What Harry should have done was keep his focus on the plan and identify parameters, allowing him to stay on task and consider new information within the scope of his current project. Richter's analysis covers the gamut: analysis of success, team building, resourcing, and project best practices. This article is a valuable read for both project managers and recent enrollees of Hogwarts alike.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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