Project Management

Taking On Project Demons

Eric Bergman

In navigating your way through a haunted house of overzealous stakeholders, zombie spreadsheets, Frankenstein systems and other project management nightmares, you might take some inspiration from popular demon hunters.

Year-round, all projects are filled with boogeymen and ghost stories regardless of scope, industry, or timeline. While you may imagine the perils and dangers that await, it’s impossible to predict every twist and turn, creeping deadline and shape-shifting priority list you’ll encounter.

To successfully navigate the project management haunted house, project managers can learn from history’s best monster hunters — from Professor Val Helsing to Hellboy to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like these icons, they understand the risks, plan for the worst, keep their eye on the end result, mitigate risk when possible, and never back down from a challenge. 

While their tactics differ, each monster hunter shares a similar approach. They’ve learned to identify the demons and nightmare scenarios they’re most likely to encounter. And, like Buffy wouldn’t leave home without the proper equipment, seasoned project managers have assembled their own arsenal of “silver bullets” to combat project demons.

To navigate the haunted house, follow this guide to the most common dangers lurking in the shadows:

Zombies: …

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"One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one's work is terribly important."

- Bertrand Russell