Project Goal Management: A Film Maker's Experience

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Categories: Portfolio Management

This year, "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale," a Taiwanese film, was submitted for a nomination for a 2012 Academy Award, a top movie prize in the United States, for best foreign-language film.

Although the film industry is a particularly challenging and unpredictable way to attain success, the process of making the film provides a lesson project professionals in any industry can learn from.

Creating this film was like any project -- it faced unique challenges. To start, the Taiwanese box office is small, and the director, Wei Te-Sheng, needed financing for the film. But how could he find sponsors when he was a "no-name" director with a low budget?

The answer was obvious: Make a simple, yet successful film to create a good reputation and attract investment.  

To fulfil this goal, Mr. Te-Sheng directed "Cape No. 7" in 2008. It generated box office returns of more than NT$500 million (US$16,900,249) and won multiple awards. He was now in a position to begin producing his historical epic film. Financing opportunities came easily, and the end product was an film worthy of a submission for nomination to the Academy Awards.

Mr. Te-Sheng's progress should be recognizable to any business strategist as adhering to the principles of program management. The goal of Mr. Te-Sheng's program was to make  "Seediq Bale," but he had to complete smaller projects to achieve it:

  1. Come up with a plan or project that generates a desired benefit.
  2. Ensure the benefit can be realized with little compromise.
  3. Balance benefit-received and cost-paid, or the outcome may be compromised.
  4. Consistently aim for your goal.
This example reveals a lesson in terms of organizational strategy: Always remember to ensure the benefits of programs and projects align with the company's ultimate objective. Don't be distracted.

Have you ever completed smaller projects to prove to sponsors you could make a bigger project work?

Read more posts from Roger.
Read more on portfolio management.
Posted by Lung-Hung Chou on: February 28, 2012 12:52 PM | Permalink

Comments (1)

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Scott Cosgrove, PMP
Entirely valid, Roger!

I am currently approaching the closing of a very large, high-risk project that began it's research and feasibility stage eight years ago. The project itself began the initiating process six years ago, after two years in trials. The execution stage of the project has been 21 months.

Between the project charter and award of a contract was 4 years of successfully completing smaller, less risky projects. Over those four years, we proposed and implemented six other projects, each presenting progressively higher risk and financial impact than the last.

I believe is was very important to the client to develop a sense of calm and trust in our methodology before signing off on what would potentially become a career maker or career breaker. Also, during the execution of the larger, high risk project, that trust that was formed has proven invaluable. By the time the final project was awarded, the sponsor had a mindset of "success is inevitable," which had really made this one a pleasure to work on.

So, while managing smaller projects to "prove oneself" may take time and patience, the payoff, in this case, has been well worth the investment!

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