Choosing Your Armor

Daniel Starr

On the project battlefield, our "armor" includes policies, processes, hierarchy and reputation. Some pieces provide protection; others hinder and conceal. What armor are you wearing? And what might you safely shed to gain flexibility and agility? The author looks for answers in an ancient parable and a modern-day confrontation in Conference Room Two.

Had I lived among my Celtic ancestors some two thousand years ago, the story might have gone something like this:
Summoned was I, summoned to the stronghold of mine enemy. There he stood, a great brute of a man, brandishing an immense spear and shouting epithets in his foul tongue. My heart did sink as he advanced, for I knew my own short blade was no match for such a great weapon. And so, summoning up all my courage and that of my ancestors, I removed my helm, released the buckles that held my armor and let it fall to the ground. There I stood, unprotected, exposing my breast to his attack. With a might roar he charged toward me, and when his spear-tip was inches away I ducked to the side, reached out with my left arm and grasped his weapon, taking a grievous wound to the hand, and held on with all my might. Unwilling to release his spear, mine enemy attempted to pull the spear away from my grasp. This I fought, and slowly I drew him closer until, when our eyes were but a hand’s breadth apart, I took the small …

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"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it."

- George Bernard Shaw