Oaths & Prayers

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The PM Oath:

This oath was crafted by Dhananjay Gokhale in the year 2007-2008. Ever since then, many project managers have got tremendous benefit by adhering to this oath. This is the world’s first oath for the project manager!

We are the project managers: We are proud of it!

Many times people don’t appreciate and acknowledge that they are project managers. Anyone who is managing any project is a project manager. And one must be proud of it!
While one moves to this and starts appreciating himself as a project manager, at times emotional attachment of the project manager strikes in. This is dangerous. And hence, …

We shall never get attached to a project!

Neither one should be indifferent to the project. The high stress levels are seen amongst project managers because of the two main reasons. Either they are very much emotionally attached to the project. Or secondly, because they do not have the temperament to sustain and tolerate ambiguity. Hence the third sentence in the oath reminds us, …

We shall never hate ambiguity & chaos

On a lighter note, if ambiguity and chaos is absent then, the project manager’s job is at stake. The project managers have to navigate the project through ambiguity, chaos, assumptions, and constraints. Should the project manager be happy with it? “Not hating” is not the synonym for happy. To be happy one must understand the value of the role.
Many times, project managers identify themselves as coordinators, communicators, etc. It is unfortunate that they do not understand the real value of project management. The real value is ….

We shall bring in visibility & predictability

Project is an endeavour that is done by, for, and of the stakeholders. There are human beings around. And a foundational instinct of a human being is “curiosity”. Unmanaged curiosity leads to hostility, while well-managed curiosity leads to collaboration. The most tangible way to manage curiosity is to bring in quantitative and reliable visibility & predictability in the ever-changing environment.
Although many projects are essentially done for specific customers, the most common trigger is to make life simpler. And hence a project manager does all the tasks for this basic purpose and hence the oath says…

We shall make life more simple, more beautiful, more meaningful

The PM Oath guides the project manager throughout the career. It guides on four aspects.

  • First, it sets the tone of appreciating the role of PM and being proud of it.
  • Second, it guides on what should NOT be done
  • Third, it guides on what is to be done
  • and Fourth, it constantly reminds the much higher cause or noble cause that is served by project management.

The PMO Oath:

This oath was created by Dhananjay Gokhale in the year 2014. Many organizations there onwards have made use of this oath as a guiding principle for setting up the PMOs.
Like the PM Oath sets the guidance for project managers, the PMO oath acts as a lighthouse for the PMO members. The PMO Oath will be appreciated only if the reader understands the meaning and context of the PM Oath. Therefore, now that we have understood the meaning of the PM Oath, we will be more appreciative of the PMO Oath.
The lack of positive self-image is the key challenge that a PMO member faces. Hence the PMO Oath starts with the lead line …

We shall act as buddies of project, program, & portfolio managers to develop agility in actions.

The major value that a project manager adds to the table is “quantitative, reliable visibility & predictability. It is possible only when project managers feel the dire need and intrinsic willingness for the same. The PMO’s key contribution is to develop intrinsic willingness. The next line in the PMO oath therefore reads …

We shall cultivate intrinsic willingness to bring in quantitative visibility & predictability in the endeavours.

The need of the PMO is strategic. The PMO acts as an active catalytic agent not only in transforming the project managers, but also transforming the organization into more responsive & more profitable in the ever-changing environment.
It is said that the project manager should always take the side of the project. The project manager must remain honest to the project. The PMO helps the PM to do so. In a way the PMO acts as a trustee. The PMO is not on the leadership side, neither on the PM’s side. It must act as a trustee of the organization. The decisions & contribution must always be taken keeping in mind the long term view. The PMO enables PMs, Organization Leaders, and the team! Hence the last ultimate reminder line in the PMO Oath goes as ..

We shall act as trustees of the organization for making it responsive & profitable while adding values to society!

The PM oath and PMO oath both ultimately guide the performer to the cause of societal contribution. Each project has its impact on society. With these oaths let’s continue our journey. I request you to keep validating the learning with the guidance in the oaths.