Project Management

Lessons From the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire (Part 2)

Jerry Manas, PMP

If you recall from our last installment, the Romans believed that their mission in life was to satisfy the will of the gods by proliferating their civilized way of life throughout the world. Their sales tactic was to position the Roman way to be better than the alternatives of tyranny or barbarism.


There are two lessons here that can be applied to modern project management. The first lesson concerns the importance of aligning your project with the company's strategic plan. The second lesson concerns the need to sell your people on the project by positioning it to be better than any alternative. Let's look at both in more detail.


Aligning Projects with Corporate Strategy

First, before you attempt to align your project with the company's strategic goal, you must address an inherent problem. That is, as a project manager, not only are you typically not in control of the company's strategic plan, you're typically not even in control of your project's charter, which contains the business need and the description of the product that the project is supposed to deliver.


The charter usually comes from management external to the project, and is hopefully already aligned with a corporate objective (which, in an ideal world, was how the project got approved in the first place). Its main purpose is to define to ultimate objective to be met, and to authorize the project manager …

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