Almost a year ago I wrote this article on LinkedIn called, “Take the Purple Pill”. The concept is based on a blend of the blue pill or red pill presented to Neo from Morpheus in the movie The Matrix. The blue pill in in the movie would have sent Neo back into his incubator-like device. He would have been non the wiser to what’s happening in the real world. Similar to a straight interpretation of concepts presented in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).
By contrast, the red pill in the movie would leave Neo outside the Matrix and show him what the real world looks like, e.g. unclean, uncertain and full of risks. Just like the real world of Project Management. When one gets into a Project Management position they quickly learn that plans won’t stay the same throughout the project’s lifecycle, we can contingency plan but not for every imaginable thing and those risks we do our best to predict early will in fact become issues at times.
Combining Philosophy and Practicality
So? So, we as Project Managers must learn to value both guidelines and Project Management standards, but just as or more importantly, we must be able to use what we need when we need to and cut out fluff that isn’t practical. I call this the “purple pill” solution.
The purple pill mindset is a balance. Knowing that people and process is imperfect, accepting it, but also working to keep teams together and on track with completing objectives will no doubt help us all make…wait for it……progress.
In PPP45: Project Managers Should Take the Purple Pill I speak to this and a few other points, including the parallel Planning Section Chiefs face when it comes to balancing what’s learned in the Planning Section Chief class with then being able to apply those principals when you’re standing in a parking lot full of Police after a shooting. Not quite the same and to be helpful we can’t be too strict in our application.
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