Project Management Tattoos That Don't Wash Off (Part 2)

Roger Kent specializes in helping teams improve Project Management processes and communications. He has taught over 200 two- and three-day seminars to corporate, military and government clients throughout the world. Roger is a principle of the MARPOL Training Institute, authoring three computer-based training programs currently used on over 1,000 ships at sea. He has also developed Movies Teach Project Management, entertaining and informative programs for PMPs to earn continuing education units. He holds a B.A. (magna cum laude) in English from Cornell University and an M.A. in Communication Theory from Norwich University.

This is part two of a discussion of so-called “project management tattoos.” I mused earlier about the possibility of getting one of the principles upon which the PM profession is based inked onto your body.

I realize, though, there is a cultural component to this conversation. Some surveys show that as many as four out of 10 adults in North America and Europe have at least one tattoo (my apologies if you have a hard time relating to this conversation culturally). Equally in that same demographic, many more people under 30 have tattoos than (ahem, how shall we say it?) the more “mature” folks (but these are asides to our topic).

Aren’t there rock-solid principles that apply to every project at all times? If you were thinking of getting a PM tattoo, isn’t there a template book from which you could choose? But wait…that’s why tattoos can be beguiling. Once you get one, it’s hard to remove. When you are bound to a principle that you assume applies to all situations, how do you unlearn it to rethink everything?

Many say that’s what the agile discipline is about: rethinking everything you ever knew about projects. The agile/waterfall discussion is more than we can handle in this short discussion about ink (American slang for “tattoos”; it’s curious how the term “inking a contract” is …

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