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10 Project Managers from movies

Project Management seems like a very broad term, and to be honest, it is. It’s an industry which sits in other industries and helps them to function.

Overheads. Risk. Budget. Processes.

If those words either:

a) Put you off

b) Scared you OR

c) Didn’t seem relatable

Then, we don’t blame you, but project work can be a very rewarding career path in many ways. Things like this can only seem difficult until you know how to do them.

Here is a list of 10 Project Managers from Movies to give you a good idea of what project management entails and the kind of skills that are necessary to succeed in this growing industry, in a manner that’s less... projecty.

Explore our top Project Management Courses

1. Darth Vader - Star Wars Franchise

The Sith Overlord twice oversaw the Death Star project and played a hands-on role in the rise of the Galactic Empire. He showed up in dog fights with his customised Tie Fighter and killed former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. Vader was a man who liked to get his hands dirty. He had excellent time management and prioritisation skills, persuading Lando Calrissian to help him capture Han Solo. But it was OK, we all forgave him when he turned on Emperor Palpatine.

2. Tyler Durden – Fight Club

AKA The Narrator, Durden managed an underground Fight Club, which we broke rule one for but it’s necessary for this entry. He was a national terrorist who birthed Project Mayhem from Fight Club, an anti-materialist and anti-corporate organisation who lead a bomb attack on corporate companies. Tyler shows excellent project management skills to start two businesses and organise the growth of one into another which brought together other disillusioned, employed males.

3. John Doe – Se7en

Doe was a serial killer who carried out seven killings to the scope of the seven deadly sins. To complete the set of killings, he himself would need to be killed at the hands of the detective who was investigating the crimes he committed – which he followed through with. Doe shows good time management skills to prioritise his projects. His hands-on skills allow him to carry out the final and most decisive stage, sacrificing himself for what he sees as the greater good.

4. Clarice Starling – Silence of the Lambs

The detective who enlists the help of Hannibal Lecter to catch notorious criminal “Buffalo Bill”. Starling analyses the risk of Hannibal’s cannibalistic and violent nature. She takes a gamble by persuading him to help her using his exceptional psychiatric skills. She uses the resources she has at her disposal, leading to the killing of “Buffalo Bill”.

5. V – V for Vendetta

A more political entry. V is a freedom fighter who attempts to ignite a revolution through elaborate acts. He shows exceptional prioritisation and time management skills by killing specific targets throughout the film to cause anarchy in the U.K and bring the fall of a corrupt government. He wasn’t afraid to be hands-on, carrying out the acts himself and distributing thousands of famous Guy Fawkes masks as part of the revolution before succumbing to death.

6. John Kramer – The Saw Franchise

AKA the Jigsaw Killer. Kramer demonstrates exceptional project management skills before his death in the third instalment of the Saw franchise and beyond the grave using his accomplices. His “games” are mini projects in themselves which build up to a bigger project, almost like a programme. He also displays excellent teamwork to work with Amanda, Detective Hoffman and Dr Lawrence Gordon.

7. Gandalf – Lord of the Rings Franchise

Gandalf exhibited team building and leadership skills throughout the Lord of the Rings franchise. Building the original Fellowship and planning the route to Mordor, he also led the team he had built and gave them the resources to complete the task in his absence. He also would provide the transport for them once they had completed their goal.

8. Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter Franchise

Dumbledore managed to make sure Harry Potter was safe until the time was right to bring him back to Hogwarts, which showed exceptional prioritisation. He kept a hands-on approach to this project by summoning his trusted friend, Severus Snape, to kill him, making Voldemort believe Snape was a Deatheater. Superb planning, organisation and execution from Dumbledore.

9. Tony Stark/Ironman – The Marvel Universe

Stark was running his own weapons business and once he realised his weapons were being used to kill American troops he changed his business plan to fight terrorists and crime as Ironman. Stark exhibited Agile Project Management processes by changing the scope of his project when he realised a critical risk. He switched to developing new technologies and being Ironman, while delegating the task of running his business to trusted PA, and love interest, Pepper Potts.

10. Simba – The Lion King

Simba came to power from nothing after suffering major setbacks – his Uncle Scar killed Simba's Father and banished Simba. Simba showed great project management to plan a return. He utilised his resources in Pumba, Timon, Nala and the spirit of his fallen Father to take control of Pride Rock.

Now, if project management seems a bit more relatable and easier for you to understand, my objective has been achieved. You could argue, that this was a project in itself.

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