Project Hagakure Part 1

Many classics of the arts of statecraft and warfare have been turned into management tomes, exhorting leaders to follow The Tao of Leadership , learn from The Prince and practice The Art of War and follow The Book of Five Rings for executives.

Perhaps the grand-daddy of all the books that seek to apply the proverbs and classics of many civilizations to the world of work is Robert Green’s The 48 Laws Of Power.

The Book of the Samurai

But, to my knowledge, nobody has sought to apply the wisdom of Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai to project management…

… until now, that is.

.Photo credit:  January 9, 2007 by renfield

Secure at the foundation

“If a project is secure at the foundation, you will not be pained by a departure from small details, or events that are go against your expectations.”

If you start your project by being completely clear what your goals and objectives are and you establish the scope of your project, you will have a firm foundation for planning and a baseline for change control.  Risk evaluation also becomes much easier if you are sure of what is central, important or peripheral to your project.

The Details

“Details are important.  The right and wrong of how to do  things can be found in the smallest details.”

For all the importance for a project manager to get a “helicopter view”, it is also vital that you are able to pay close attention to the details, and put in place carefully thought-out processes that meet your project’s needs.

Warrior of Fame

“If you do not want to be struck by the enemy’s arrows, you won’t get any magical protection.  But if you do not wish to be hit by an arrow from a common soldier, but prefer to be struck by a warrior of fame, then you will receive the protection you desire.”

For project managers who tackle projects with a sense of fear of failure; failure is inevitable.  But for those who seek glory by taking on the most challenging projects, or who try to do exceptional work in the projects that they have, minor setbacks will not deter them.  As John F Kennedy said:

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

The “so what?”

Focus on the basics, pay attention to the details and tackle what matters.

More Project Managers’ Hagakure soon …


2 thoughts on “Project Hagakure Part 1

  1. Hamamoto

    The book you refer to is a standard text on many MBA courses. Many people have applied the knowledge or principles in business. Nothing new there.

    1. Mike Clayton Post author

      There is really very little new in the world – but many reinterpretations and re-presentations.
      Many of my readers are not fortunate enough to have done an MBA (indeed I have not), so I hope they will enjoy these posts and find something novel in them.


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