Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Project Management and the Eightfold Path

I was recently reflecting on some Buddhist teachings and started seeing how some of those teaching can apply to project management. The first step in the Eightfold Path is Right Understanding. The Buddhist teaching is that we should look at things from other people's perspectives and not try to judge.

This concept should be familiar to people, even if they haven't studied Buddhism. Christian teaching says "Judge not that you might not be judged" (Matthew 7:1). Same idea, don't look at people from your point of view. Stephen Covey, as one of his 7 Habits has "Seek first to Understand."

So how does this apply to project management. It's how we deal with our stakeholders (among other things). Do we really take time to listen to what they want. Do we communicate with them often and really try to understand their perspective? So next time you're in a meeting with your stakeholder and you start to think "What an idiot, he/she doesn't know what they're asking for..." take some time and really try to see things from his/her perspective.

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