**Spoiler alerts** Don’t read this if you haven’t read the first book of The Hunger Games series.
It’s the UK general release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 this week. Selecting the team for the District, planning for the Games, sharing a clear objective. Sounds like project management, doesn’t it?
Here’s why project management is like surviving The Hunger Games.
Your project needs a generous sponsor
In the arena, tributes receive gifts from their sponsors. Little parachutes drop useful items to those that have popular appeal and a generous sponsor.
Your project needs a sponsor who can negotiate for the resources and time you need to secure the project done successfully. You’ll also benefit if you can get them to communicate with your team by sharing the project vision.
Your project needs a flexible plan
You never know when the environment in the arena might change. Suddenly it’s on fire, then it’s raining. The powers that be change the rules without any notice.
Projects have the same degree of uncertainty, so your plan needs to be flexible. Team members drop out or join in. You suddenly have less time to complete certain tasks. A flexible approach to scheduling and a good change management process will help you deal with the surprises.
You need a creative team
Katniss has Cinna and the team of stylists to help her prepare. Cinna’s creativity helps reshape and reinforce how the audiences at the Games feel about Katniss on several occasions, like when he designs a dress for the Victory Tour that honours the deaths of Thresh and Rue. I think it’s fair to say that his behind-the-scenes creative dressmaking helped her secure the win and the sympathies of people in other Districts.
A creative project team can also help you get out of tight situations. Use their expertise, build on constructive conflict and develop creative facilitation techniques to resolve project issues.
You need a mentor
All the tributes have mentors who have lived through their own trials. Katniss and Peeta have Haymitch as their mentor. As victor of the 50th Hunger Games and the only choice for District 12 tributes, they have to rely on his knowledge and experience.
You will probably have more choice when it comes to finding a mentor. A good mentor can help you navigate the challenges of your project and open doors to new opportunities.
You need to be resourceful
Katniss has to use her wits and stay resourceful. Berries, nuts, bowmanship: she uses what is available and never wastes anything.
Projects have limited resources. Don’t waste time or energy on things that aren’t important. Focus on the tasks and people that will help you achieve your overall objectives and deliver the project successfully.
Project management isn’t as violent as The Hunger Games, but it can certainly feel like a challenge at times. What do you do to stay sharp? Let us know in the comments.