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The Bridge on the River Kwai

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Stephen Devaux
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I will be teaching a course (for a non-project management audience) in the fall titled: "Profiles of Leadership in Classic Films". One of the films we'll be exploring is The Bridge on the River Kwai. Great flick, which I first watched 55 years ago, have seen several times since, and recently watched again in planning this course.

I never previously noticed this: it's a project management movie! Complete with matrix organization dysfunction, "creeping elegance" errors, collateral damage from an artificial deadline, autocratic leadership, poor resource husbandry and, of course, poor design of project scope based on misunderstanding the project's true goal(s).

There are at least two other project management movies of which I am aware: Guns of Navarone and the Oceans Eleven series (pretty much all of 'em). Saving Private Ryan could have been one--but it really wonders far beyond the basic project.

Anyone think of any others?

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan

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Anoon Iimos
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Steve, please let me just suggest...if you just follow your "Heart".. or emotion..there are only two ways...GOOD OR BAD...while your "Brain" may always prefer...profits and self-sustainability...LOVE AND RESPECT FOR OWN SELF AS WELL AS FOR FELLOWMAN (REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING)...Movies are just for entertainment...
Anoon Iimos
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HI STEVE, Perhaps you're not sure on which side you're gonna go through...hence, the "question"...Seeking the "truth" in the mountain of "Lies" that we're currently living..sure is very difficult..as these "lies" as you maybe knew were very intentional...pre-meditated..or whatever..in other words..it is a project with a purpose...Originally...the purpose is very simple..where perhaps resources were free to chose strategies as they wish..until perhaps some of the managers (which maybe hungry for more power)..set some "rules"...which become a bit complicated for ordinary resources to follow...hence...the "chaos" begins...Now focusing on "technology"...and instead of doing a "PROJECT WITH A PURPOSE"..."resources" began to scatter...forming groups or alliances..somehow like an "Atom"..forming parts of the whole "MATTER"..by the way...let me define "matter" as anything that occupies a human mind...Well again, instead of doing the whole "matter"...resources (in atomic groups) began to compete in the so-called "technology development or evolvement"...perhaps thinking...that whoever got the best technology...shall RULE!...
Stephen Devaux
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Hi, Anoon!

"HOW WILL YOU MANAGE OVER SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE...ALL WITH UNIQUE IDENTITIES...MINDSETS..AND EMOTIONS...not including insects,..fishes...plants...animals or other divine creations...Please..just consider this as the ultimate project management"

But that begs a question, doesn't it? What's the project? In fact, with that many resources, I'd guess it's a huge programme! And I've heard that the programme office on Olympus is forever interfering! That idea that Pallas Athene suggested to Odysseus to construct a giant wooden horse REALLY upended things, and we're still trying to recover!

In fact, many of the comments I made above regarding The Bridge on the River Kwai would seem to apply to what you are now asking me:

  • What is the project for all those resources?
  • What is its purpose (a question mankind has been asking at least since Socrates!)?
  • How much value will it generate? Hasn't there already been too much "creeping elegance" with the scope, and can we try to avoid that in the future?
  • Can we be a bit more careful in the future about wasting resources?
  • What will be the downside if the schedule slips?

Fraternally in project management,

Steve the Bajan 

Anoon Iimos
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Steve, With all due respect...you're funny, I wish you will have an eternal life being human (sincerely)...From "DRAG" (or is it DRUG)...Now you're talking "movies"...Please, just let me humbly ask you...If you were GOD (or otherwise)...HOW WILL YOU MANAGE OVER SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE...ALL WITH UNIQUE IDENTITIES...MINDSETS..AND EMOTIONS...not including insects,..fishes...plants...animals or other divine creations...Please..just consider this as the ultimate project management...LOVE AND RESPECT..ALWAYS