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PM Essence

Project Manager Vs Movie Director: Comparing Chalk and Cheese?

                                                                 -Gladstone Leslie Samuel, PMP

I had been responsible for executing global projects in a R&D environment. There is a stark similarity of being a Project Manager and a Movie Director.


The role of a Project Manager has gained prominence in many organizations. The responsibilities are quite challenging and fun- filled as well. I would like to share my feelings that have a story line worthy of creating a blockbuster movie.

Most of our projects adopts the Gate model. The illustration (Fig. 1) depicts the various stages during project execution.

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Gate 0


One fine day out of the blue my boss called me and informed that I will be the Project Manager for a key project. I was excited and daring to go. I felt that I was like a director for a star studded movie. G0 passed!


Gate 1


My first task was to comprehend what the project was all about. I called for a project kick-off meeting with all the concerned stakeholders. I was dizzy by the time the meeting concluded. Now I had a very vague idea of the plot of the movie. G1 passed!


Gate 2


We had an elaborate discussion on the scope, resources, budget, plan, risks, etc. After several rounds of hard negotiations, the stakeholders agreed to provide me the required budget. I now knew that the movie can really be produced. G2 passed!


Gate 3


The next step was to synchronize with the project team. This was indeed a challenging task. I got a feeling as if bringing the movie stars together with inflated egos and implicit expectations. My patience was tested to the hilt. I felt that the script for the movie was in place now.


Now I had to understand the requirements and deliverable expected out of this project. I spent considerable time and energy along with the team members. Finally we were able to unravel the cryptic crossword puzzle. I felt that now the locations, costumes, music, etc., for the movie are ready. G3 passed!


Gate 4


The next phase was to execute the project. The deadlines were fast approaching. The development, testing, documentation and product experts were operating at 100 % efficiency. I got a feeling as if the movie was getting shot in one day. G4 passed!


Gate 5


We are now ready with our final product. Now I had to appear for the G5 meeting. As usual we had to scramble and compile all the documents for this meeting. The entire project team were anxious to know the outcome. However the stakeholders were not fully convinced and raised specific concerns from a quality perspective. My heart skipped a beat. I got a feeling that the film censor board has passed a restriction on releasing the movie to the public. G5 under hold!

The project team had to revisit and address the questions asked by the stakeholders. We were now confident of meeting the expectations. I then called for the G5 meeting one more time. I was keeping my fingers crossed and was elated when our product was accepted and was ready to be released to the market. The project team was happy as well. I got a feeling that the movie is now ready for release and can be watched by the public. G5 passed!


Gate 6


I was keen to know how the product was received in the market. We received very good response from our esteemed customers. Now I had to capture the lessons learnt and disband the project team. All of us had gained experience and were happy to conclude the project. I had a sense of satisfactions that my movie had run for 100 days successfully. Oh.... What a wonderful feeling. G6 passed!


Award Ceremony


I am now happy to know that my PMP credentials helped to draw an analogy between executing a gate model project and producing a movie!

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