Friday, November 30, 2012

A Few Obstacles More

Well I now have a print version of The Way of the Project Manager as well as the Kindle version available on Amazon. The only problem is that in creating the print version I tried to link it to the Kindle version and now have two Kindle versions, one is the same as the print version and the other is the original. I think I can delete one of them but am going to wait until I am sure everything else is OK before doing so.

After a lot of thought I finally picked a photograph I thought was suitable for the cover:

It's one of the old Stone Ways up on Dartmoor. I took it on a walk on December 14 a couple of years ago. A brilliant day, bitterly cold but the sun was shining and the ground was firm (as it was frozen solid), It somehow seemed appropriate.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Way Forward

I mentioned in my last post that "The Way of the Project Manager" had been published by Amazon (through Kindle Direct Publishing) and indeed it had. 

But I should have read chapter 64 again! I suddenly had a bolt out of the blue that they were querying the content as it was in the public domain. This surprised me as I took steps to ensure that my final content wasn't the same as on this blog, I even re-translated the text of the Tao so I wasn't infringing anyone else's copyright. Turns out that the good folk at PM Toolbox have been posting all my blogs on their web site as well so they virtually had my penultimate draft on line.  I have already reduced my comments to a summary on this blog as I've been finishing off each chapter and I will ask PM Toolbox if they can kindly do the same.

Anyhow Amazon seem satisfied that it really is my work so they are going ahead with the Kindle version and continuing working on the print version.

There are no obstacles on the way,
The obstacles are the Way.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ending and Beginning

Chapter 81 was the last chapter of the Tao so this is the end of the cycle. But it is a cyclical process so out of the ending comes a new beginning. 

I have tried through this blog and “The Way of the Project Manager” to pass on my thoughts about the how of project management. Hopefully it has helped to open your mind and perhaps understood a little more. Now it is your turn to pass on that wisdom to others. The Way is in front of you, be confident.

The Way is not complex, the Way is simple.
Follow the simplest path, it is The Way.

The wise project manager seeks inner peace,
With inner peace comes understanding.

The wise project manager relishes not doing,
For this is the way of the project manager.

Stop Press

The Way of the Project Manager is now published on Amazon Kindle at:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

81: The Reward

Chapter 81 is the final chapter in the Tao. Today it seems appropriate as I have just completed and submitted “The Way of the Project Manager” to Amazon Kindle Publishing. 

The wise project manager tries to help others to find their own success. The single principle teaches us that true benefit blesses everyone and diminishes no one, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

Truthful words are not beautiful.
Beautiful words are not truthful.
Good men do not argue.
Those who argue are not good.
Those who know are not learned.
The learned do not know.

The sage never tries to store things up.
The more he does for others, the more he has.
The more he gives to others, the greater his abundance.
The Tao of heaven is pointed but does no harm.
The Tao of the sage is work without effort.

80: The Simple Life

There is no point in trying to solve a problem by moving somewhere else, changing employers or friends. The good project manager is happy to use whatever he has and is content with where he is, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man, they are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armour and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple, their homes secure;
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbours,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.

79: Win or Loose

We are all one; there are no sides to take. The wise project manger goes along with what is happening anyway, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

After a bitter quarrel, some resentment must remain.
What can one do about it?
Therefore the sage keeps half of the bargain
But does not exact his due.
A man of virtue performs his part,
But a man without virtue requires others to fulfil their obligations.
The Tao of heaven is impartial.
It stays with good men all the time.

78: Soft yet Strong

The wise project manager knows that yielding overcomes resistance and gentleness melts rigid defences, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people is fit to rule them.
He who takes upon himself the country’s disasters deserves to be king of the universe.
The truth often sounds paradoxical.

77: Cycles

Natural events tend to be cyclical, always changing from one extreme to an opposite. The wise project manager’s behaviour works because it is based on this understanding, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

The Tao of heaven is like the bending of a bow.
The high is lowered and the low is raised.
If the string is too long, it is shortened;
If there is not enough, it is made longer.

The Tao of heaven is to take from those who have too much 
and give to those who do not have enough.
Man’s way is different.
He takes from those who do not have enough
To give to those who already have too much.
What man has more than enough and gives it to the world?
Only the man of Tao.

Therefore the sage works without recognition.
He achieves what has to be done without dwelling on it.
He does not try to show his knowledge.

76: Flexible or Rigid

The wise project manager knows that what is flexible and flowing will tend to grow and develop. So he allows the team to go with the flow and things develop naturally, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.

Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.

Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.

The hard and the strong will fall.
The soft and the weak will overcome.

75: Without Greed

The wise project manager is not greedy, selfish, defensive or demanding. He knows that he can trust events to unfold naturally, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tsu tells us:

Why are the people starving?
Because the rulers eat up the money in taxes.
Therefore the people are starving.

Why are the people rebellious?
Because the rulers interfere too much.
Therefore they are rebellious.

Why do the people think so little of death?
Because the rulers demand too much of life.
Therefore the people take death lightly.

Having little to live on, one knows better than to value life too much.

74: Judge and Jury

The wise project manager knows that there are natural consequences for every act and their role is to help people to understand what is going on, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

If men are not afraid to die,
It is of no avail to threaten them with death.

If men live in constant fear of dying,
And if breaking the law means that a man will be killed,
Who will dare to break the law?

There is always an official executioner.
If you try to take his place,
It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood.
If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

73: Freedom & Responsibility

The wise project manager knows that he has freedom of choice and must therefore take individual responsibility. No one else can make decisions for you, it is up to you, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tsu tells us:

A brave and passionate man will kill or be killed.
A brave and calm man will always preserve life.
Of these two which is good and which is harmful?
Some things are not favoured by heaven. Who knows why?
Even the sage is unsure of this.

The Tao of heaven does not strive, and yet it overcomes.
It does not speak, and yet is answered.
It does not ask, yet is supplied with all its needs.
It seems at ease, and yet it follows a plan.

Heaven’s net casts wide.
Though its meshes are coarse, nothing slips through.

72: Spiritual Awareness

The wise project manager lives in harmony with spiritual values and demonstrates the power of selflessness and the unity of all creation, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.

Do not intrude in their homes.
Do not harass them at work.
If you do not interfere, they will not weary of you.

Therefore the sage knows himself but makes no show,
Has self-respect but is not arrogant.
He lets go of that and chooses this.

Monday, November 19, 2012

71: All the Answers

The wise project manager does not know all the answers and does not indulge in pretending. When he doesn't know he says so, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

Knowing ignorance is strength.
Ignoring knowledge is sickness.

If one is sick of sickness, then one is not sick.
The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.

Friday, November 16, 2012

70: There is Nothing New

The way of the project manager is simple and easy to understand as it goes back to basic principles. The wise project manager stays with the single principle of how everything happens and does nothing new or original, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

My words are easy to understand and easy to perform,
Yet no man under heaven knows them or practices them.

My words have ancient beginnings.
My actions are disciplined.
Because men do not understand, they have no knowledge of me.

Those that know me are few;
Those that abuse me are honoured.
Therefore the sage wears rough clothing and holds the jewel in his heart.

69: Fight or Flight

The wise project manager has respect for any attacker. He advances only when there is no resistance. He knows the more compassionate will win, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

There is a saying among soldiers:
I dare not make the first move but would rather play the guest;
I dare not advance an inch but would rather withdraw a foot.

This is called marching without appearing to move,
Rolling up your sleeves without showing your arm,
Capturing the enemy without attacking,
Being armed without weapons.

There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I almost loose what I value.

Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

68: Opportunities

Good leadership is about motivating people to achieve at the highest levels by offering them opportunities, not obligations. That is how things happen naturally, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

A good soldier is not violent.
A good fighter is not angry.
A good winner is not vengeful.
A good employer is humble.
This is known as the virtue of not striving.
This is known as the ability to deal with people.
This since ancient times has been known as the ultimate unity with heaven.

67: Three Qualities

The wise project manager knows that when he cares for the team members, he enhances the energy of the whole team, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tsu tells us:

Everyone under heaven says that my Tao is great and beyond compare.
Because it is great, it seems different.
If it were not different, it would have vanished long ago.

I have three treasures which I hold and keep.
The first is mercy; the second is economy;
The third is daring not to be ahead of others.
From mercy comes courage; from economy comes generosity;
From humility comes leadership.

Nowadays men shun mercy, but try to be brave;
They abandon economy, but try to be generous;
They do not believe in humility, but always try to be first.
This is certain death.

Mercy brings victory in battle and strength in defence.
It is the means by which heaven saves and guards.

66: Open and Supportive

What we call leadership consists mainly of knowing how to follow. The wise project manager stays in the background and facilitates the work of the team, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tsu tells us:

Why is the sea king of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them.
Therefore it is the king of a hundred streams.

If the sage would guide the people, he must serve with humility.
If he would lead them, he must follow behind.
In this way when the sage rules, the people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them, they will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him and will not tire of him.

Because he does not compete,
He does not meet competition.

65: Theory and Practice

The wise project manager does not go for complex theories, he practices a way of life based on consciousness and wisdom. If you cooperate with the Tao, you will experience the power of universal harmony, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tsu tells us:

In the beginning those who knew the Tao did not try to enlighten others,
But kept them in the dark.
Why is it so hard to rule?
Because people are so clever.
Rulers who try to use cleverness
Cheat the country.
Those who rule without cleverness
Are a blessing to the land.
These are the two alternatives.
Understand there is Primal Virtue.
Primal Virtue is deep and far.
It leads all things back
Towards the great oneness.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

64: Beginning, Middle and End

The wise project manger doesn't do too much and does not worry about getting the credit for having done something. Because he has no expectations, no outcome can be called a failure.

Lao Tzu tells us:

Peace is easily maintained;
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.

Deal with it before it happens.
See things in order before there is confusion.

A tree as great as a man’s embrace springs from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.

He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps looses.
The sage does not act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not loose.

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.

Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire.
He does not collect precious things.
He learns not to hold onto ideas.
He brings men back to what they have lost.
He helps the ten thousand things find their own nature,
But refrains from action.

63: Difficulties

All projects run into difficulties from time to time and the wise project manager knows that by expecting problems he will not suffer from them. He does not dismiss any problem as insignificant, but neither does he become anxious about it.

Lao Tzu tells us:

Practice non-action.
Work without doing.
Taste the tasteless.
Magnify the small, increase the few.
Reward bitterness with care.

See simplicity in the complicated.
Achieve greatness in little things.

In the universe the difficult things are done as if they are easy.
In the universe great acts are made up of small deeds.
The sage does not attempt anything very big,
And this achieves greatness.

Easy promises make for little trust.
Taking things lightly results in great difficulty.
Because the sage always confronts difficulties,
He never experiences them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

62: Whether You Know It or Not

The Project
I am now up to date (here) with my re-translation of Lao Tzu’s words of wisdom!  

The Way
The wise project manager is aware of how things happen and this makes their words more potent and their behaviour more effective. Sharing the way is the greatest gift they can give.

Lao Tsu tells us:

Tao is the source of the ten thousand things.
It is the treasure of the good man, and the refuge of the bad.
Sweet words cannot buy honour;
Good deeds can gain respect.
If a man is bad, do not abandon him.

Therefore on the day the emperor is crowned,
Or the three officers of state installed,
Do not send a gift of jade and a team of four horses,
But remain still and offer the Tao.

Why does everyone like the Tao so much at first?
Isn’t it because you find what you seek and are forgiven when you sin?
Therefore this is the greatest treasure of the universe.

Friday, November 09, 2012

61: Submission and Conquest

The Project

The new translation of the Tao Te Ching is going quite well and I’m up to chapter 56, so I’ve nearly caught up with these posts.  Meanwhile I’m still running with the translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English (1984) on these posts as I can’t publish my new translation on this blog as it would make it open source and invalidate my ability to publish on Amazon.

The Way
The wise project manager is prepared to be the servant of the team and will give way to the wishes of the team, for this is the way of the project manager.

Lao Tzu tells us:

A great country is like a low land.
It is the meeting ground of the universe,
The mother of the universe.

The female overcomes the male with stillness,
Lying low in stillness.

Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.
Therefore those that would conquer must yield,
And those who conquer do so because they yield.

A great nation needs more people;
A small country needs to serve.
Each gets what it wants.
It is fitting for a great nation to yield.

Friday, November 02, 2012

60: Stirring Things Up

In order to publish “The Way of the Project Manager” I can’t have any open source content in it. Hence I am working my way through producing a new translation of the Tao Te Ching using the excellent translation resource web site.  Coincidentally off to see “Mao’s Last Dancer” tonight, which might help my Chinese a little. 

The wise project manager has a light touch and faith in the way. 

Lao Tzu tells us:

Ruling the country is like cooking a small fish.
Approach the universe with Tao,
And evil will have no power.
Not that evil is not powerful,
But its power will not be used to harm others.
Not only will it do no harm to others,
But the sage himself will also be protected.
They do not hurt each other,
And the virtue in each one refreshes both.