Monday, March 21, 2011

Project Management and Chess

"Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary's men, but a little uncertain also about your own; if your knight could shuffle himself on to a new square by the sly; if your bishop, in disgust at your castling, could wheedle your pawns out of their places; and if your pawns, hating you because they are pawns, could make away from their appointed posts that you might get checkmate on a sudden. You might be the longest-headed of deductive reasoners, and yet you might be beaten by your own pawns. You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt."  -George Eliot, Felix Holt; The Radical
Looks to me as if George Eliot had project people management in his mind when he wrote the above piece.  A project manager (how ever powerful he/she may be), has to complete the project with the help of people who may have their own likes, dislikes and purposes that are conflicting. While this scenario may not sound fun, it is what makes Project Management of any Enterprise class project more complicated and challenging, compared to a game of chess.

This is shared here not because this is a nice quote from a lesser known book, but  because there are couple of points a discerning Project Manager has to learn and remember.

#1.People are not Pawns and don't play them like that. Treat people like people (not like pawns obviously).
#2. However much the powers of a Project manager may be, once the stake holders feel that they are being used/played against, then (you) the project manager looses control.

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