Project Management

Of Martial Arts and Methodology

Patti Gilchrist, PMP, is a Senior Technical Manager with more than 20 years of IT experience. Visit her website at

Bruce Lee is widely considered by to be one of the most influential martial artists of all time: “He took the view that traditional martial arts techniques were too rigid and formalistic to be practical in scenarios of chaotic street fighting. Lee decided to develop a system with an emphasis on practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency. He started to use different methods of training such as weight training for strength, running for endurance, stretching for flexibility, and many others which he constantly adapted, including fencing and basic boxing techniques.”

Project practitioners can gain valuable insight from Lee’s philosophies, which offer a sound and practical approach to achieve success in any area. And within these principles, parallels can be found and applied toward project management.  Within the PM community, there is ongoing and considerable debate regarding which framework or methodology is best. Many project practitioners feel strongly about one framework or methodology versus another, while other PMs will simply choose one that is familiar to them. Either of these selection methods typically shifts focus to a philosophical debate versus execution.

Choosing the best approach requires thought, but be careful not to overanalyze it. Consider Lee’s warning: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you&…

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"I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but should get you pretty near."

- Margaret Thatcher