He is the best and most recognisable villain in the history of film. Luke and Leia’s Father; and probably mine too, Darth Vader is a supreme villain whose characterisation has gone down in history. From his mask that struck fear into his adversaries, to his iconic breaths and robotic tone of voice, Vader was a formidable foe for anyone.
But we’re not here for all that Hollywood nonsense, let’s look at ten reasons why Darth Vader was a good Project Manager.
1. Oversaw the Death Star Project… Twice
Vader oversaw the building of the Death Star, not once, but twice. Let’s put into perspective how big the Death Star was. The first Death Star had a diameter between 140 to 160 kilometres. The second was between 160 to 900 kilometres in size and featured its own gravitational pull. Imagine building something of that size? Not once, but a second time after it’s destroyed the first time.
He was a hands-on leader of the Empire. He engaged in dog fights in his own personalised Tie Fighter, he strived to find R2-D2 and Princess Leia, boarding the Rebel spaceship himself to look for them. Upon finding his old master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, he promptly dealt with and made him one with the Force.
Prioritisation was one of Vader’s best characteristics as a leader. He went after the captured compromised Death Star plans. He knew these plans needed to be saved for the good of the Empire. He caught Han Solo and delivered him to Jabba the Hutt and lured in Luke to try and get him to join the Dark Side. A plan which didn’t bear fruition but the prioritising aspect remains.
His decision-making throughout the original Star Wars episodes was much better than in the prequels, maybe it was his experience that helped him to develop better decisions (sound familiar?). But his ultimate decision was to kill Emperor Palpatine and redeem himself when the Emperor looked certain to kill Luke. It ended up in his death, but he became a martyr for what he believed in… and we can appreciate that!
5. Risk Management
Threat to the Empire? Not to worry, we’ll send our colossal laser walkers, specialised snow fighters, and for good measure, we’ll send Vader too. Basically, a threat popped up on Hoth in the shape of a Rebel Alliance base. Vader soon saw to that and made sure that it was a threat that didn’t hang around for too long.
6. Ability to Persuade
Vader had good persuasion and negotiation skills. He didn’t need to use a mind trick of the force to achieve them either. He forged a partnership with Boba Fett, so the bounty hunter could capture Han Solo and deliver him to Jabba the Hutt. Vader also managed to convince Lando Calrissian to set up a trap for Solo in Cloud City. The latter part of The Empire Strikes Back was Vader’s persuasion skills coming to fruition.
7. He was Agile
No, not physically. Vader was excellent at handling the iterative scope of a project. If the goalposts moved, he’d be there to make sure the Empire was still on track. Any case of repetition? Not to worry, we’ll build the Death Star again, plan another attack, capture another Rebel leader etcetera, etcetera. Whatever needed doing, Vader handled it.
8. Performance Management
If you weren’t pulling your weight, then believe that Vader was going to deal with you swiftly and with business justification. Vader was uncompromising in his approach to dealing with dissension in the ranks. Disagree with his plans? Force choke. Not performing to his high standards? Force choke. Many an Imperial Admiral felt the wrath of Vader’s angry force hands.
Plans for the Death Star? Check. Attack on a Rebel base? Check. Trapping Leia, Han, Luke and Chewbacca? Check. Vader planned them all and pulled each plan off to a degree of perfection that only he could imagine.
10. Time Management
With all this to bear in mind, Vader still found the opportunity to have some downtime. In that space-age, Imperial egg thing that he spent his time in, he could wind down and forget about the stresses of work. Something that all good project managers know is how to manage their time effectively, and how they can utilise rest periods to prepare for what’s ahead.
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