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Project Management Lessons from Hagakure, Book of the Samurai |Video

Project Management Lessons from Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai | Video

Hagakure, the Book of the Samurai, was written in the 18th Century. It draws from the words of the Samurai, Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Those words have a lot that a modern Project Manager can learn from.

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Ghost Dog and Hagakure

The book became popular due to the movie Ghost Dog, by director Jim Jarmusch. One of the quotes used in that film is:

“There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking.”

The other quotes from Hagakure that I look at…

Hagakure on Project Management Attitude

“There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. There will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.”

“Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go to the extent of living single thought by single thought.”

Hagakure on Stakeholder Engagement

“To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not.”

Hagakure on Project Communications

“When one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll.”

Hagakure on Project Management Professionalism

“If one is but secure at the foundation, he will not be pained by departure from minor details or affairs that are contrary to expectation.”

“in China there was once a man who liked pictures of dragons, and his clothing and furnishings were all designed accordingly. his deep affections for dragons was brought to the attention of the dragon god, and one day a real dragon appeared before his window. it is said that he died of fright. he was probably a man who always spoke big words but acted differently when facing the real thing.”

Hagakure on Project Management Attitude

“The extent of one’s courage or cowardice cannot be measured in ordinary times. All is revealed when something happens.”

“It is said: ‘When you make a mistake, never hesitate to correct it.’ A wrongdoing can be rectified immediately if you are quick to address the problem. It will look worse if you try to cover it up, and you will suffer more.”

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I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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