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What Sci-Fi Movies Teach Us About Project Management Skills

samzenpus posted 1 year,2 days | from the I'm-afraid-I-can't-accept-that-proposal-dave dept.

Businesses 186

Esther Schindler writes "It's certainly fun to pretend to find work inspiration from our favorite SF films. That's what Carol Pinchefsky does in two posts, one about positive business lessons you can take away from SF films (such as 'agile thinking can save many a project (and project manager) in a crisis' from Robocop and team motivation lessons from Buffy), and the other, 5 Project Management Horror Stories Found in Sci-Fi Movies, with examples of the impact of poor documentation on Captain America."

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What Sci-fi movies? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743021)

I mean you have Star Wars, Star Trek, Senerity, Farscape (I guess), Dune (maybe). A few movies from the 60's/70's (silent running, 2001, whatever).

What other sci-fi movies are there? It's all shit.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (3, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743079)

I mean you have Star Wars, Star Trek, Senerity, Farscape (I guess), Dune (maybe). A few movies from the 60's/70's (silent running, 2001, whatever).

What other sci-fi movies are there? It's all shit.

Alien. Aliens.

It's a stunning reminder of the value of human life ... when there's science involved (look at me still talking ...)

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743589)

I've been on several projects where I fervently wished "dust off and nuke it from orbit" was a project management option. It is, after all, the only way to be sure.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45743983)

Nuking the whole thing is always an option for a project manager. If you didn't have that option available to you, then you were just a worker bee all along.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744439)

Uh, no offence.

Re: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744457)

The best lesson to be learnt from Aliens is one that doesn't just apply to project management, it can be applied to meetings, presentations etc in all walks of life:

"Any questions?" .......

"How do I get out of this Chicken Shit outfit?"

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743263)

Of the ten highest-grossing movies this year, #6 is Gravity, which is unquestionably SF, #9 is Star Trek, which you listed, and #10 is World War Z, which I think a case could be made for if you sort of squint and look at it right. That's not bad! I wouldn't give up on the genre yet.

Gravity ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743791)

There is not a shred of SF in Gravity. It is a modern disaster movie.

Re:Gravity ? (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744461)

"Science fiction" doesn't have to be pewpewpew Star Wars fantasy. Gravity could be a straight golden-era SF short story.

Re:Gravity ? (1)

paiute (550198) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744527)

Make a wish, Billy.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (3, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743349)

What other sci-fi movies are there? It's all shit.

According to TFS, Buffy is Sci-Fi. I knew right then not to read the article.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (5, Insightful)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743381)

Don't let Khan near anything.
If it breeds, it can take over your ship.
Sleeping with the test proctor will let you beat the no-win scenario.
If you have a bad feeling about something, it's a trap.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743421)

The only thing mentioned that's true sci-fi would be star trek. The others are either sci-fantasy or border on it.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743433)

Star Trek has telekinesis, ESP, and other paranormal crap... which to me, makes it questionable as sci-fi.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743471)

Star Trek has telekinesis, ESP, and other paranormal crap... which to me, makes it questionable as sci-fi.

The line between sci-fi and fantasy has never really been all that clear-cut.

As stated by Arther C Clark. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744349)

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744829)

Don't forget lens flares.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

sconeu (64226) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743623)

Alien and Aliens say hello.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743631)

What other sci-fi movies are there?

Wow, there's a ton, but it is hard to think of them out of the blue. A few were:

Silent Running
Galactic Quest
Real Genius
Short Circuit
Men in Black
The Last Mimzy

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

flargleblarg (685368) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743773)

Let's not forget:

Moon
Blade Runner
The Matrix
Inception
The Fifth Element
Gattaca
Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

Gunboat_Diplomat (3390511) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743821)

I mean you have Star Wars, Star Trek, Senerity, Farscape (I guess), Dune (maybe). A few movies from the 60's/70's (silent running, 2001, whatever).

What other sci-fi movies are there? It's all shit.

Not shit: District 9. Bladerunner. Alien. Aliens. The Matrix (1). The Fifth Element. Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

Rhaban (987410) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744007)

T2 is an action movie with a bit of sci-fi. Terminator is a sci-fi movie with action bits.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (2)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743955)

How about Primer?

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744545)

How about Primer?

"Always keep a master time machine in reserve.", best project management advise ever.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744585)

Wish I could mod this up.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744437)

Gattaca

When it comes to sci-fi movies, you can't forget that little underappreciated masterpiece

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (1)

Megane (129182) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744515)

I can name a couple: Jurassic Park III is a great BOFH story. And TRON is about corporate politics.

Re:What Sci-fi movies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744567)

I mean you have Star Wars, Star Trek, Senerity, Farscape (I guess), Dune (maybe). A few movies from the 60's/70's (silent running, 2001, whatever).

What other sci-fi movies are there? It's all shit.

Children of Men, Moon, Inception, The Matrix, Babylon 5, Blade Runner, District 9, The Abyss, Terminator 2, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Fifth Element, Metropolis (1927 and 2001 versions), Akira, Sunshine, Dark City, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Repo Man, Gravity, Andromeda Strain (original), Looper, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Jurassic Park, Gattaca, Planet of the Apes, Galaxy Quest, eXistenZ, The Fountain, Cube.

Couldn't follow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743045)

I couldn't follow this at all. Can you put it in a PowerPoint for me? Thanks.

Re:Couldn't follow... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743111)

When your dystopian underlings or royal space subjects comment on aspects of a "mission" a smile, propaganda and lies can go down well.
A one way mission becomes exploration.
Creating a some new weapons system from an alien becomes productive medical research.

SF and project management (5, Insightful)

rossdee (243626) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743053)

"We shall redouble our efforts"

The commander of Death Star 2 when Vader told him the Emperor was coming to inspect the project.

Re:SF and project management (0)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743075)

"We shall redouble our efforts"

The commander of Death Star 2 when Vader told him the Emperor was coming to inspect the project.

I think spaceballs taught us everything we need to know about bad management.
"The Secret Combination Is . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5".

Re:SF and project management (3, Interesting)

flargleblarg (685368) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743779)

"We shall redouble our efforts"

I've always wondered... Why didn't he just say quadruple?

Re:SF and project management (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743961)

I've always wondered... Why didn't he just say quadruple?

I assume it's because he's already doubled his efforts once and quadrupling would mean a total 8x increase compared to the original amount of effort?

Also, "redouble" doesn't have to literally mean "double again,"
it can be used less specifically to mean "a great increase"

Re:SF and project management (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744455)

On day one in scriptwriting class they teach you that long words like "quadruple" are only allowed during techno-babble and never during normal conversation.

Re:SF and project management (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744763)

I've always wondered... Why didn't he just say quadruple?

Because that would be wrong. There, you can stop wondering now.

Re:SF and project management (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744875)

"We shall redouble our efforts"

I've always wondered... Why didn't he just say quadruple?

Because redouble doesn't mean quadruple.

Re:SF and project management (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744389)

"We shall redouble our efforts"

The commander of Death Star 2 when Vader told him the Emperor was coming to inspect the project.

As a PHB, I learned a lot from the Empire. I'm looking forward to the new sequels where the Empire gets to win.

Re:SF and project management (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744553)

About half a year ago, a friend of mine asked me why I liked SF.

We were discussing SF books - I'm more of a reader than a watcher, but I advised her to watch Babylon 5.

She and her husband (who was managing a book store) watched the whole 5 seasons together.

She is the HR manager of a large medical research company, now she would like ALL line/project managers in her company to watch the series - she says it is better at teaching management issues than all training she ever attended. (No, she will try to not enforce that.)

Re:SF and project management (1)

SonnyDog09 (1500475) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744707)

I always wondered how they got the design of the Death Star through the review committee given its obvious flaws. If your expensive creation can be destroyed by a single shot, why build it?

Re:SF and project management (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744839)

If your expensive creation can be destroyed by a single shot, why build it?

Because like in most IT projects, they concentrated on the big things and completely ignored the small stuff. In their case, they were worried about defending themselves against battleships (or whatever the rebels were using), not small, one-man ships.

In IT projects, everyone is so worried about getting the big things done, they miss the obvious little stuff. Let's build a web site where people can look up how much more they're going to pay for insurance. Great idea boss!

*9 months rolls by* We got the web site up and it looks fantastic!

Why aren't people using our site? Why does it keep crashing?

Um, we didn't account for how many people might want to look, including the media, didn't provide enough personnel to perform significant load testing and didn't allot enough time to check for bugs and inaccurate information.

Same thing with the Death Star. They wanted something big and powerful, to show the world how great they were. They didn't take the time to do the nitty gritty stuff which is necessary to complete a successful project (which is why 70% of IT projects fail).

Re:SF and project management (1)

BVis (267028) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744915)

Politics. Guessing that snub fighters weren't in the initial spec, so they weren't accounted for. Once the problem was found, it was glossed over to protect the well-connected people who made the mistake in the first place. Hey, the death toll was only in the thousands, no big deal. Someone probably did a quiet cost/benefit analysis and determined that the expense of fixing the problem would raise too many troubling questions, and when the boss has a habit of Force choking people who rock the boat, that boat doesn't get rocked.

Sy-Fy Channel (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743065)

where wrestling is considered Science Fiction. I continue to wait for them to start rolling COPS episodes and Bizarre Foods.

Re:Sy-Fy Channel (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743877)

I think wrestling is perfectly cromulent for the Syfylis channel.

Science Fact (4, Interesting)

bscott (460706) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743109)

You don't need to reach for SF to get a great project management lesson, just look at the Apollo program.

A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management. Who says the government can't handle any big jobs, eh? (well, anyone who's been watching for the last 40 years maybe...)

Re:Science Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743281)

Sometimes it does take a rocket scientist.

And during the time of the Apollo program 'rocket scientist' used to mean a damn.

I'd love to go back to treating effective scientists like heroes. But first, people need to get behind a perspective on global warming.

Re:Science Fact (4, Informative)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743297)

... just look at the Apollo program.

A triumph of the human spirit, of technology, of ingenuity, sure - but mainly, an overwhelming triumph of project management.

And then NASA changed their management. And the new management dropped "belt and suspenders" "managing for Murphy's law" in favor of "managing for success". And they launched Challenger when the solid-fuel booster O-rings were too cold to seat properly, over the objections of the engineers.

And the space program was put on hold for 2 2/3 years.

Re:Science Fact (3, Interesting)

jd2112 (1535857) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743365)

Appropriate quote:

“Crash programs fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month.”
Wernher Von Braun

Re:Science Fact (1)

lfourrier (209630) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743905)

As already explained by I don't remember who, it can be a correct measure, if your objective is to have a lot of people in a few years.

Parallelize, and start over many times, and of course, each baby still take nine months to "produce", but globally, each 9 women will get you a baby a month.

It is not Project, it is Run. Different objectives, different rules, different outcomes.

Re:Science Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744187)

Still who would trust Hollywood ? I men after all those years trying and they still cant make a successful enough movie to generate enough profit to pay tax.

Re:Science Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744429)

But with nine women, and one month, you sure can have a lot of fun if everyone's friendly...

Re:Science Fact (5, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743487)

And they launched Challenger when the solid-fuel booster O-rings were too cold to seat properly, over the objections of the engineers.

That's true, but what's even sadder is that those damn O-rings should've never even been there in the first place. The SRBs were meant to be a one piece monolithic design. However it was changed into a segmented multi piece O-ring design because pork had to be provided to Morton Thiokol at the insistence of the senator from Utah, who held the purse strings. (Thiokol, being in Utah, cannot ship a large one piece by ocean and could only build segmented ones shipped by rail)

The lesson here is, do not let managers into your project who have their own agendas that conflict with the main project's mission.

Re:Science Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743757)

The lesson here is, do not let managers into your project who have their own agendas that conflict with the main project's mission.

So right.

After my 20-ish years of experience working in projects of all sizes I can attest that every technical decission influenced by politics is a nail in the coffin of the project. Politics and reality do not mix well.

Re:Science Fact (3, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743801)

What's also sad is the engineers then had to sneak around their management to get to talk to the one guy on the inquiry that could not be threatened with loss of reputation if he delivered bad news. Some pressure was put on Feynman to drop the issue but thankfully he ignored it and the ugly truth came out.

Re:Science Fact (1)

PseudonymousBlowhard (1319965) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744451)

I don't think this affects your main point, but it's pretty clear from Feynman's book "What Do You Care What Other People Think" that the information about the O-rings got to Feynman via an Air Force general called Donald Kutyna who was also on the commission (and had contacts in NASA).

Re:Science Fact (1)

paiute (550198) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744543)

Some pressure was put on Feynman....

That I would have liked to see personally.

Re:Science Fact (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744199)

And then NASA changed their management. And the new management dropped "belt and suspenders" "managing for Murphy's law" in favor of "managing for success". And they launched Challenger

You say this as if previous management didn't also have blood on their hands. Apollo 1 saw 3 astronauts burnt alive in their capsule.

Flammable materials, pure Oxygen environment, negative pressure preventing door from opening doesn't really smell like "managing for Murphy's law".

Was not impressed (-1, Redundant)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743115)

I think I should go back to ancient and venerable Slashdot practice and avoid reading TFA. In fact, I'm not so sure about the summaries, either.
And the comments...
well,

Good bye, it's been fun.

Re:Was not impressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743341)

(-1, Drama Lama)

What about DS9's In the Pale Moonlight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743141)

Outsource when you can't do a job yourself?

7 Habits (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743145)

Sounds like it's time for Covey to come back to life and write "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Fictional Characters."

Hmm... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743169)

Sci-Fi teaches us not to hire George Lucas... he's terrible.

No movies (0)

ls671 (1122017) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743175)

No movies will teach you about real skills needed for efficient project management. People who possess those skills are usually busy doing something else and consider their PM as pure overhead. It doesn't mean you have to be harsh with them. I mean help them as much as you can, sometimes, they might even cover your ass and take the hit for you if they are good PM.

Re:No movies (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743707)

People who possess those skills are usually busy doing something else

Protip: Linux is successfull because of amazing project management by Linus. Hell, I consider Git a bigger boon to the world than Linux. Anyone can write a damn simple monolithic kernel [osdev.org] , but to immediately gather a community and be able to maintain it is a rare skill. Leadership isn't key in sci-fi? Being in the right place at the right time with the right people helps too -- Also evidenced in sci-fi: A rag-tag group of ethnically diverse individuals from all walks of life will save the day! Diversity can help bring new ideas to the table...

Speaking of tables: Don't worry about the time table, if the engineer has to fix it before the deadline, they will find a way, even if it means working overtime: "I'm giving her all she can take captain!" Not to worry, they'll pull some engineering magic out out of thin air during the commercial break because this story arc is about to end.

Speaking of endings: How exactly does Neo see machines as orange colored lights? He didn't get a wireless upgrade, right? Programs escaping into the "real world"? Wait, he can kill sentenals wirelessly with his mind? Yep, instead of a green monochrome inspired world, he's trapped in an amber-screen level of the matrix. The Matrix shows you can always add another layer of indirection...

Look, it's a confirmation bias piece, it's just for fun.

Re:No movies (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744673)

The best management is still to stay out of your team's way, give them what they need to get their work done and make sure they're not pestered by beancounters.

Works for me, at least. You just need a very motivated team, if you got slackers then you're in trouble.

Re:No movies (1)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744541)

The project managers greatest application of skill is to manage the necessity of themselves out of project completion. The best project managers have very successful projects whilst seeming to do not very much at all, the worst are of course the exact opposite, failed projects whilst working flat out all of the time. I liken it to the story of the woodsman and his axe, the one that was always working flat out and never had time to stop to sharpen his axe (the smart woodsman plans ahead and regularly sharpens his axe and thus doesn't have to work near as hard and yet gets more work done).

For the love of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743179)

Even if I dial my nerd pedantry down to the level where I twitch only slightly when somebody calls Star Wars 'sci-fi' on account of it happening in the sciency environment of space, I can't allow 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' to be called SF without comment. I just can't. The lesson Ms Pinchefsky dragooned Buffy into was "Motivate your team members". Setting aside the question of whether any skull thick enough to not have already picked up advice that general is going to have the Eureka moment from reading a forced analogy to a TV show: is Buffy the only work of fiction from which we could squeeze this lesson? Of course not. In Dune, did the future Kwisatz Haderach not motivate the Fremen? In Battlestar Galactica, did Commander Adama not motivate his team at some point? I assume he did. I'm no Pinchefsky, admittedly, but still I can't shake the thought that she could have found some muse that did not muddy an already much-abused designation.

And actually it seems my outrage this evening had not met its limit at the outset of this post, which I thought it surely had, but having read about the episode from which Ms Pinchefsky seized her lesson, it turns out to be *even worse* than an improper use of the term SF. Buffy is fired for screaming at patrons that they are eating human meat. Should we really be taking management lessons from the woman who hired her back? Don't do that! Don't rehire employees who are literally screaming bloody murder at the customers! They are bad employees, and you are better off without them. This insightful management lesson from fantasy I offer to you for free.

My main point is that seeing this bullshit offered without even some mild qualm just makes me depressed about Slashdot.

Re:For the love of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744381)

In Dune, did the future Kwisatz Haderach not motivate the Fremen?

Yeah, but he did so by founding a cult with himself as the messiah. Not exactly good project management advice.

Buffy is fired for screaming at patrons that they are eating human meat. Should we really be taking management lessons from the woman who hired her back? Don't do that!

Buffy was hired back because she had information that could have ruined the Doublemeat Palace if it came to light.

Where is Matrix? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743187)

I bet there are a lot of lessons there, including not giving your agents too much independence, they could screw things so badly that you will need to hire your enemies to get rid of them.

Re:Where is Matrix? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744659)

Hmm... so the NSA will hire Al Quaida to hunt down Snowden?

The project lessons I've learned from sf movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743213)

After the scene has been set and you embark upon your heroic and seemingly impossible mission, spend 90% of the project avoiding peril after peril, until just before the end you cause the whole thing to blow up.

And definitely don't hold out for the sequel where pretty much the same thing happens again.

Re:The project lessons I've learned from sf movies (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743413)

I was thinking more like Stargate SG-1.

<shrug> "Hey, it's what we do".

Nope... (2)

KBehemoth (2519358) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743277)

Here are the real lessons [twitter.com] of Sci-Fi movies.

These are not the Androids you were looking for (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743301)

Wherein the Evil Empire sets out to destroy the Androids that could result in its' destruction, but fails due to some major design flaws (and some seriously bad public relations issues), and is ultimately destroyed by its' own hubris.

Re:These are not the Androids you were looking for (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744647)

So when is the US due?

Motivational Buffy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743363)

Team! You either make the deadline, or you die a horrible death in the hands of our local corporate lawyer. Your choice.

Re:Motivational Buffy (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744651)

Erh... boss, it might not be the best time for it, but here's my 2 weeks notice...

If you're learning business skills from movies (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743391)

Then you have bigger problems than lacking business skills.

Re:If you're learning business skills from movies (1)

Sique (173459) | 1 year,1 day | (#45743921)

If you can't learn anything from movies, you have bigger problems than lacking business skills.

Didn't help my bosses (1)

Tablizer (95088) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743417)

"Never tell me the odds" and then plow through it like crazed cowboys

Ender's Game (3, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743441)

Not a hip movie to like right now, but Ender's Game is almost all about project management and leadership.

Ender sees the great potential in his team, even in the misfits and castaways, but he also has high expectations for them to reach that potential. That is what I try to do as a leader.

Re:Ender's Game (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744465)

Ender sees the great potential in his team, even in the misfits and castaways, but he also has high expectations for them to reach that potential. That is what I try to do as a leader.

I try to emulate Ender too, but I prefer his "If you have a bunch of assholes impeding progress kick their leader to death. The others will fall in line" approach to team building.

Re:Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744737)

Management lesson from Ender's game: if at first you don't succeed, kill everybody.

Actually it's Bean. (1)

Ecuador (740021) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744811)

It is Bean the one who first sees the potential in those misfits and castaways and assembles the team for Ender to command.
I avoided Ender's Shadow for a few years thinking it would be just a rehash of a great book (if you haven't read it don't watch the mediocre movie before reading the book), but it is actually pretty good.

Colossus The Forbin Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743453)

For God's sake put an off switch on the damn machine.

Or, always plan an exit strategy before you implement a can't loose solution.

There is of course the number one rule (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743469)

Sarcasm on

Don't plan ahead, try to foresee difficulties and solve issue way before they come up. Instead blow things off, leave out important details and try to solve everything at the last possible moment. That's good management, or at least a interesting movie

sarcasm off

Re:There is of course the number one rule (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743537)

My favorite is, don't tell your team the plan just give them a bunch of tasks. Let them question the outcome but don't let them know that when everything looks like it is about to fail you'll pull out your final thing and save the day explaining all the random crap you did to start with.

Re:There is of course the number one rule (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744639)

Well, on the plus-side, pretty much any sci-fi disaster (or pretty much any disaster) movie tells us that the beancounters will ignore the engineers who would actually know what to do until it's almost too late, then the engineer will risk career, neck and the life of loved ones to save the day and in the end the beancounter will be praised for it.

Wait, did I say plus-side?

Every Large Project (3, Insightful)

Greyfox (87712) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743561)

Should have a prominent big red self destruct button. This button should not do anything, and it should be booby trapped.

MLP: Management is Magic (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743663)

Applebuck Season: You're less productive working 80-hour weeks than you think you are. The whole "lean in" thing is killing you, AJ. Stop and ask for help.

Suited for Success: Stop worrying about what the customer wants, deliver what the customer actually needs.

Owl's Well That Ends Well: The n00b isn't necessarily there to take your job, they might have just been hired to ease your workload. Stop being a dick to the new guy/gal.

Lesson Zero: Stop worrying about the deadlines. If it was important, the ship date would have slipped.

Hearth's Warming Eve: The devs (earth ponies) blame arrogant QA/process weenies (pegasi), the QA department blames management (unicorns) for impossible demands, management blames those slacker devs, and society collapses under the ineptness of its own org chart.

Wonderbolts Academy: At first glance, it's a "Top Gun" parody, but upon reflection, this is basically how XP/pair programming worked.

Apple Family Reunion: Is this episode about Thanksgiving, or is it about HR departments and teambuilding exercises?

Just for Sidekicks: Managers, this is what your underlings are actually up to while the brass is in town. (Games Ponies Play: Grunts, this is how inept your managers are at trying to impress the brass while they're in town and you're slacking off.)

Princess Twilight Sparkle: The first ten minutes is about matrix management and cross-training. The second ten minutes is about the fact that it doesn't matter as long as you sell the company and everyone gets a fat check at the exit.

Re:MLP: Management is Magic (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743681)

Princess Twilight Sparkle: The first ten minutes is about matrix management and cross-training. The second ten minutes is about the fact that it doesn't matter as long as you sell the company and everyone gets a fat check at the exit.

Derp. I meant "Magical Mystery Cure" and not "Princess Twilight Sparkle" as the one about matrix management and exit strategies. Oops. My bad. I just don't know what went wrong.

I also forgot an episode:

Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000: It's not about cider, it's about beer, and it's not about beer, it's about the importance of QA and craftsmanship, rather than just shipping the MVP at the first available opportunity and let the customers deal with the bugs.

leadership lessons from unusual places (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | 1 year,2 days | (#45743667)

I like to find leadership lessons from unusual places too. I occasionally write about them on my blog. This year, that included IT leadership lessons from Zombies, and leadership lessons from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic! Coaching Buttons blog [blogspot.com] :-)

Re:leadership lessons from unusual places (1)

umghhh (965931) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744197)

indeed with some brains you can get the ideas from any place. That is what actually makes out a good manager or group leader or what else they are called.

I even find some use in new buzzwords now and then as they refresh the focus and increase motivation. If you take them for what they are they are not even this annoying anymore. Gurus are annoying tho albeit there is an entertaining value there too. From all the gurus I find the ones mumbling about agile & water fall the most entertaining - I never know what the outcome of the proceeds would be. I laugh every time I see a workshop in which some management consultant is attempting to fix problems of others but cannot get around to organize own workshops in such a way as to make at least one person leave them with added value besides entertainment.

As for movies I liked Starship Troopers with their fascist social structure etc - you could see what properly done PR campaign can do and that sometimes throwing more people at it is just as good waste of resources as anything else :)

we need no PM (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743677)

in agile

Brazil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,2 days | (#45743793)

Can't comment yet, still filling out form Reply-13-12.19.

You forgot the best one of them all (1)

bobstreo (1320787) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744277)

If you haven't seen it, there may be spoilers.

THX 1138 surprisingly by George Lucas.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0066434 [imdb.com]

The ending is a lesson for project managers.

The one lesson from Robocop: (1)

Opportunist (166417) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744629)

Do not let a private company take over what should be government's job.

I go to Dune for my PM needs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45744655)

If the client requests a change mid-sprint, test their part in the decision via Amtal Rule.

May thy knife chip and shatter!

The answer (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,1 day | (#45744745)

The answer is, of course, fuck all.

What the author meant was:

Here's what I think about project management skills, and here are a few vaguely coincidentally similar situations in sci-fi movies to make me look nerdcool

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