Projects are sometimes like games. You have the players, a set of rules and some kind of challenges to get from the “Start” to the “Finish” line. There is a specific path to follow with optional shortcuts that may or may not help you finish faster (and they usually come with a price)
Project Management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to meet project requirements. More experienced Project Managers may tell you a project is a lot like playing chess. Chess is the ultimate “Cause and Effect” game.
The chess pieces are just like project resources to help you get to the goal. Each resource can only move a certain way and have limited moves per “turn”. Some can’t move until the piece in front of them has moved out of the way. These “predecessors” set the rhythm and pace of the game.
Very experienced chess players and veteran Project Managers plan several moves ahead to anticipate the outcome and costs of taking risks; because on the opposite side of the game board are external factors that will work against you, take up resources and hinder chances of finishing. You must plan, attack, pull back and counter these setbacks.
You can think of your King as the project’s goal. As long as he remains standing at the end, you’ve successfully protected him against the onslaught of invaders and obstacles thrown at you during “The Game”.
Regardless of how project management is viewed or which analogy is thought of, Project Managers should know their limitations, follow the rules, use resources wisely, and always play nice.
WRITTEN BY JOHN ZABRUCKI – PROJECT MANAGEER