The Lord of the Rings…If you are like me every time they play the trilogy on TV I watch again like I am watching it for the first time. I am sure you remember the main characters..Frodo..Gandalf…The places..middle-earth..Mount Doom…the Shire…but for me my favorite character was Samwise Gamgee or Sam for short. Every project needs a Sam so let’s go to the movies….
Sam was made Frodo’s first companion on his journey to Rivendell. When the Fellowship was split up at the Falls of Rauros, Sam insisted on accompanying Frodo. As Frodo became progressively weaker under the burden of the Ring, Sam carried most of the luggage, cooked, kept watch at night whenever he could, and rationed the food so Frodo had enough for the journey. He protected and took care of Frodo as they moved through the dangerous lands toward Mordor. Sam was not only a good friend to Frodo but became a great sponsor for the project of returning the ring and saving middle earth. One of the most important things to have on a project is an active and visible sponsor that will be our cheerleader and do some of things we cannot do at times.
The relationship between Frodo and Sam is at the heart of The Lord of the Rings and demonstrates a good relationship between the project manager and the project sponsor. Having a good, active project sponsor is one of the ways to help ensure your projects are successful. As Frodo grew weary under the burden of returning the ring, Sam was there to look after the project interests, and provided strategic direction and most importantly, did what was required of him as the project sponsor. A sponsor who isn’t interested in what they are doing, then why are they bothering? Sam cared about Frodo, he cared about the Shire and he cared that their project of returning the ring was a success. So the next time you start a project look for the “Sams”: they make great team members and they will make great project sponsors. Next month….Project Management and the Titanic