Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 9

Scope Management

PMBoK definition of “Defining Scope” :

Developing a detailed project scope statement which is critical for project success

The scene from Ramayana:

In the cosmic stage show, sometimes a villain grows into a powerful force, so powerful that he even overthrows deities or devas, who stand for all that is moral and right. One such rogue was Ravana and devas pray to Lord Vishnu to help them. Vishnu promises them protection and declares, “Be relieved of your fear! You will be safe under my shelter! I will descend on Earth as sons of King Dasaratha and get rid of Ravana and his gang that have become a terror to deities and sages. I will rule the earth for eleven thousand years and establish the path of Dharma.”

How the scene maps to the process:

For the project of getting rid of Ravana, in order to protect sages and deities, Vishnu discloses the above “scope statement” of the project. It is crisp and complete. Accordingly, Vishnu descends on Earth as Rama. Sugriva, the son of Sun God, knows all the nooks and corners of the world (like sun who observes everything on Earth) and is able to instruct his army where to look for Sita. Hanuman, the son of Wind God is able to fly (like wind) and cross the ocean. Nala, the son of Vishwakarma, the divine architect is able to build a bridge on the ocean. Sushena, the son of Water God plays the role of the military doctor (imbibing water’s curative power) of the monkey army. Jambavan, who was born of Brahma, plays the role of a guide and mentor to the monkey army (Brahma who chants all four vedas from his four faces, plays that role for devas).

When Rama turns 25, Dasaratha plans to coronate his beloved son as the next king. Kaikeyi, who loves Rama more that her own son Bharatha, in a spur of the moment is frenzied with jealousy and persists on Dasaratha to order Rama to exile for fourteen years. Dasaratha is bound by promises he made to Kaikeyi long ago. He tells Rama about his predicament, but prompts Rama to put him in jail and take the kingdom. But Rama decides to go to forest in line with an established dharma called “obedience to father’s words”. It led to events that culminated in fulfilling the project scope statement.

The execution of Vali by Rama is often debated. Vali was also born on Earth, as a son of Indra, with extraordinary strength, to help Rama in this project. But he becomes a close friend of Ravana. Because of the bad company, his mind is sullied and he abducts Sugriva’s wife at an opportune moment. So Rama punishes him for the sin of abducting his brother’s wife, who should be treated like a daughter, with death, thus establishing dharma.

From the moment Vishnu descends into the world as Rama, he acts as a human being without any supreme power or even the knowledge of his supremacy. But all his decisions based on dharma and the turn of events fulfills the “scope statement” to the dot. It is to show that if a man traverses the path of righteousness, he will fulfill his mission on the Earth exactly as defined in divine plans.

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This author published 109 posts in this site.
Ganapathy Subramanian, Founder and CEO of MS Academy has a B.E degree from CEG Anna University. After 20 years in IT industry, he left a senior management position to pursue and lead his dream project - Management Scholars Academy. In his successful IT career, Ganapathy has been VP-HR at Polaris FT Ltd and Director-Projects at CSC India Pvt Ltd. He has designed, developed, and deployed many innovative leadership training programs, PM competency diagnostics frameworks, and performance management systems for project managers. These programs helped the corporates build PM competency and excel in project management practices. Ganapathy has traveled extensively in the US, UK, Japan and Singapore as a consultant for AT&T, Lucent, Citibank, CSC, Unilever and Visa. Ganapathy has been a mentor to many project managers in CSC, Polaris and now to hundreds of PMs through MS Academy. He has coached many PMs to appear and get the PMP certification. The reason MS Academy's PMP training program has become so popular so quickly is that the trainers give personal time and attention during and after the boot camp and guide the PMP aspirants step by step towards their goal. Please visit or contact for further details.


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rama sridhar
August 10th, 2010

The way the scope management is explained here reminds me my Japanese teacher who used to explain grammar points by singing old Tamil songs, due to which i was able to understand the grammer well. Similarly, the comparison given here helped me to understand the scope mgmt concept very well. Thanks a lot.

Ganapathy Subramanian
August 10th, 2010

Thanks Rama.

Ramesh Baburao
September 18th, 2010

Yes, this is a great example of scope management.

Collect Requirements – Lord Vishnu collects requirements – i.e. receives the prayers from sages and deities on Ravana’s roguery

Define Scope – Lord Vishnu declares the scope that he’ll descend on Earth as son of King Dasaratha and kill Ravana and his gang thereby protecting sages and deities (project objective)

Create WBS – Work involved is broken down into more manageable components – find Seetha devi, goto Ravana’s place & kill him and bring Seetha back

Verify Scope – Makes sure he destroys evil and only evil

Control Scope – Monitors the scope (i.e. to destroy evil and only evil) throughout the project

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