A general of war and a project manager have a lot in common. In this article by author Puneet Kuthiala, he uses Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to describe that the qualities of the general discussed in the book are similar to the qualities a project manager must encompass. It focuses on “guiding the project manager (‘the general’) toward a positive outcome by cluing into the environment in which he operates.”
Generals and Project Managers Are One
The Art of War contains techniques to conduct war and what is needed for a general to win the war. Both a general and a project manager have to assess what resources they have, what constraints there are and any risks that may occur and how to appropriately handle them to ensure minimum negative impact. In addition they will have to make sure everything comes together just right, in order to win. Just as a general realizes the importance of planning, the project manager also knows that it is key to ensure victory in his endeavors. Equally important is the characteristic of agility as circumstances change, so will a general and project manager need to to accommodate to the change.
The role of a general is not much different from that of a project manager’s. They both have a staff of people under their command and will have to do what it takes to steer the project or battle towards victory. Where their decisions will take them depends on their planning, agility, schedule, estimation, scope verification, procurement management and cost management. Kuthiala ends the article with this:
“Fighting with a large army under your command is no different from fighting with a small one: it is merely a question of instituting signs and signals”. While setting up a project’s organizational structure, drawing communication plans and setting up mechanisms, when clarity is established, a project team of any size can be managed. Provided that each team member plays by the rules as per project, organizational policies and acts as a team player.
To read the full article, click here: http://www.mpug.com/articles/project-management-battlefield/