Forest for the Trees

Abhay Padgaonkar

There is project management insight to be gleaned from the worlds and words of basketball coaching legend John Wooden, social psychology pundit Malcolm Gladwell, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck and quality guru Joseph Juran, among others. The author connects the dots to draw some big-picture takeaways on the nature of change and projects.

“It’s only the wisest and the stupidest that cannot change.” – Confucius
 
Joseph Juran, widely recognized for adding a human dimension to quality management, is credited with one of the most concise (and in my opinion the best) definitions of a project: “A project is a problem scheduled for solution.” In other words, a project is a response to an identified need, gap or opportunity. Only when different resources at the disposal of an organization are marshaled, do you really have a project. The most important implication, however, is that every project involves some degree of change to the status quo. And therein lies the biggest challenge of project management.
 
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The same is true for any project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), there are five process groups and nine knowledge areas that make up the crux of project management. There is a vast body of generally accepted practices, tools, and …

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"The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them."

- Mark Twain

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