Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 10

Project Integration Management

PMBoK definition of Close Project or Phase

Finalizing all activities across all of the project management process groups to formally close the project or a project phase

The scene from Ramayana:

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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:

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 8

Human Resources Management

PMBoK definition of Manage Project team :

Tracking team member performance, providing feedback, resolving issues, and coordinating changes to enhance project performance

The scene from Ramayana:

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 7

PMBoK definition of “Estimating Cost”

Developing an approximation of the costs of the resources needed to complete the project activities

The scene from Ramayana:

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Project management in Valmiki Ramayana – 6

PMBoK definition of “Administer Procurement”

Managing the contract and relationship between the buyer and the seller, reviewing and documenting how the seller is performing to establish required corrective actions and provide a basis for future relationship with the seller.

The scene from Ramayana:

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 5

PMBoK definition of Risk response planning :

Developing options and actions to enhance opportunities, and to reduce threats to project objectives

The scene from Ramayana:

(Read the following paras with the above definition in mind)

Sugriva segregates his army into four squads and sends them in four directions in search of Sitadevi’s whereabouts. But he sends three fourth of his army in the southern direction knowing that is where Ravana’s country is.

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 4

Project Communication Management

PMBoK definition of Manage Stakeholders :
Managing communications to satisfy the requirements of and resolve issues with project stakeholders

The scene from Ramayana:
When Sugriva saw Rama and Lakshmana coming towards his hiding place, he became jittery. He sent Hanuman to find out who they are. Hanuman talks pleasantly to the brothers and finds out who they are and why they are wandering in the forest. He makes a judgment call that they will help Sugriva and Sugriva can return the favor. He takes them to Sugriva and forges friendship between Rama and Sugriva.
Hanuman goes with the squad that travels in the southern direction, crosses the ocean and finds Sita in the palace garden of Ravana. Ravana and the rakshasis threaten her life. She was about to commit suicide. Hanuman tells the story of Rama and gains her attention. He knows that this is Sita. But he still asks her who she is and why she is crying and listens patiently to her lament and thus wins her trust. He consoles her with words, “Don’t cry.” He gives her the
signet ring of Rama and repeatedly assures her that Rama will soon come and rescue her.
He meets Ravana and warns him in the name of Rama and Sugriva. But seeing that Ravana is too arrogant and realizing that terror can be answered only with terror, he causes significant damage to the rakshasa army and burns down Lanka city to put fear in the heart of Ravana.
On return from Lanka he narrates to his monkey friends all the events that transpired and motivates them to fight for Rama to rescue Sita. Hanuman comes back to Rama and conveys the crisis situation Sita is in. He instigates Rama to
march to Lanka right away. He also describes the defense and security situation in Lanka to help Rama strategize his offence.
After Ravana was defeated, Rama asks Hanuman to convey the good news to Sita. Similarly when approaching Ayodhya in Pushpaka Vimana, Rama stops at a sage’s hermitage. He sends Hanuman ahead of him to Ayodhya to tell Bharatha that he will arrive the next day.

How the scene maps to the process:
Hanuman is remembered for his prowess to move mountains and cross oceans. He is equally remembers for his communication skills through which he connected all the stakeholders in this project and moved the events forward. Significant point to note is that he not only talks pleasantly and coherently but listens attentively and wins other person’s trust.

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 3

Quality Management

PMBoK definition of Perform Quality Assurance:

Applying the planned systematic quality activities to ensure that the project employs all processes needed to meet requirements

The scene from Ramayana:

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 2

Project Time Management

PMBoK definition of “Control Schedule”:

Controlling changes to the project schedule.

The scene from Ramayana:

After Rama killed Vali, he makes Sugriva the king of Kishkinda and tells him to rest and relax for the next two months of rainy season and after that help him in finding Sita. Sugriva gets intoxicated with alcoholic drinks and pleasures of flesh that he forgets his promise to Rama. After stern reminder by Hanuman, Sugriva sends messengers with orders to assemble the monkey army in Kishkinda.
Meanwhile Rama sends his brother Lakshmana to warn Sugriva with a clear message that the doors through which Vali was sent to netherworld are not yet closed. Hearing this, Sugriva comes to Rama and apologizes for the delay. By then the monkey army arrives and Sugriva was saved from Rama’s wrath. He divides the army into four squads and orders them to go in search of Sita in all four directions of Earth setting a deadline of one month.
The squad that goes in the southern direction comes back only after four months but brings the report on whereabouts of Sita. Hanuman brings the message from Sita that she will not bear to live more than a month in the sickening situation she is in. The very same day Rama marches to Lanka with the monkey army.

How the scene maps to the process:

Rama changes the schedule baseline three times in this project of rescuing Sita.
First time he postpones the activity “Send squads in search of Sita” by two months knowing that not much can be achieved in rainy season. It will sap the energy of the monkey army to carry the search in rain and it may kill their motivation to fight Ravana’s army later.
When Sugriva delays the search due to negligence and distraction, Rama reprimands the monkey king, but still forgives him because he has marshaled the army. The baseline is now moved to middle of fall season.
The monkeys returned only in spring season, but since they had valid reasons for the delay and also they were successful in their mission, Rama admitted the delay.
But he marches towards Lanka and rescues Sita within the one month deadline that she set for her rescue. Thus he shows that changes to schedule should be managed with appropriate control on the dependencies.

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Project Management in Valmiki Ramayana – 1

When I was preparing for PMP exam, I read the PMBok a few times. At that time, I was also reading the Valmiki Ramayana. I came across many scenes in Ramayana story that made me think that project management practices were in vogue even in ancient India.
Given the PMBok definition of “Body of knowledge” [Body of knowledge includes knowledge of proven, traditional practices, which are widely applied, as well as knowledge of innovative and advanced practices] I tried to map some scenes from Valmiki Ramayana to a few key processes elucidated in PMBoK.

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