The Yin and Yang of Project Management

Have you ever heard of Kung Fu project management?

So we’ve got to grips with agile, understood the meaning of scrum, know what PRINCE2 is all about and generally have all the project management techniques down to a tee. However, there is one more description of project management that you may not have heard about yet: Kung Fu project management.

OK, so you may not see it in your textbooks or find it discussed on your PMP course, but the art of Kung Fu really does help to describe some styles of project management with much more clarity than you might think. See if you can spot your own style of project management with our Kung Fu breakdown.

  1. Crane style

Project managers who adopt the crane style are often made to stick out their necks. These guys are risk takers, who often act without a care for the consequences. Cranes are great allies in an environment where ‘out of the box’ thinking is required, but sometimes their ability to deliver on time is squashed by their unrealistic expectations.

  1. Dragon style

We’ve all worked with a dragon project manager. These people like to breathe fire wherever they go, shouting orders and barking instructions at their team. They rarely get involved in the delivery of the project on the ground, preferring instead to sit in their high tower using fear as a motivator for action. Dragons can be good at whipping a team into a frenzy of activity, but in the long run will not elicit any loyalty from their team.

  1. Monkey style

Fun and friendly, monkey managers are everyone’s best buddy. They put relationships before the success of the project, and whilst it might be great fun to work under them, it can come at a cost as they are often too scared of falling out with people to come down hard when tasks are not delivered.

  1. Snake style

Slippery project managers who adopt the snake style are often sneaky about the management of the project. Behind the scenes they are facing major issues, but when reporting upwards they always give their status as green. They are great at talking their way out of missed deadlines and deliverables, but are often senior management favourites thanks to their charm. Watch out if you manage like a snake, because your team will soon see through you and you’ll lose your credibility.

  1. Cat style

The cat manager is reluctant to leap before he looks. They like to spend time gathering all the information they can muster before making any decision, and love to spend time analysing, researching and evaluating things. The upside is they make very well informed decisions. The downside is they are very slow to act and therefore can often miss opportunities in fast paced environments.


Becoming a Kung Fu master of your own projects

Traditional King Fu masters are usually either a total master of one specific style, or have a good understanding of a range of techniques. To be a hard hitting Kung Fu PM, you need to master a range of styles and techniques, and to know when to apply them to relevant situations. You need to practice your skills and focus on real discipline in order to make the most of your techniques, but even when you’ve got your skills as tight as possible, don’t be surprised if the odd unexpected punch still gets through.