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Zombies with the text 'use your brains'

How to survive a zombie apocalypse with PRINCE2®

It’s the spookiest time of year and, naturally, as an accredited training organisation, we thought it was only appropriate that we had a little think about zombies. Hey now, bear with us here – there’s method to our madness or, at least, a methodology…

A zombie apocalypse epitomises every project manager’s nightmare – no clear plan (other than, y’know… not dying), no clear budget, scope or even visibility on how many team members will turn up each day, and don’t even get us started on the ever-increasing log of risks…

So, how about if we employed the power of PRINCE2® – or more specifically, its seven principles – to help you survive the zombie apocalypse? Can they help you out of your impending sticky situation? Let’s see shall we…

1. Continued business justification

The first principle states that a good project must make good business sense – there should be a return on investment (ROI), and both your use of time and resources should be justified. We feel like this one is a bit of a no-brainer. Your continued business justification and ROI are to stay alive; whatever you are doing is justified and worthwhile if you all come out the other side, potentially minus a few limbs. As obvious as it seems, holding fast to this pearl of wisdom will keep you focussed on the task at hand, and may just save your life.

2. Learn from experience

Now, possibly another obvious one, but if someone died on day one because they forgot to check right, left and right again before crossing the zombie street, it’s probably a good idea to learn from this and avoid it in the future. Equally, everyone knows that you kill a zombie by destroying its brains, so learn from this – don’t go for the knees, that’s how you lose your head…

3. Define roles and responsibilities

Don’t underestimate the power of knowing what you’re doing before you do it. We need a rotating lookout each night, a route-planner, someone collecting weapons and someone to keep an eye on the younger, less-experienced members of the team, at least. And for the love of all things good, we can’t be having Tony and Susan fighting for team leadership in the middle of an all-out zombie brawl.

4. Manage by stages

Difficult tasks are better off broken into manageable chunks. If you’re facing a large-scale escape mission, it will probably help to take a back step and think about things stage by stage. Don’t all run out at once – that’s how Steve died, remember? Break it down – distract the zombies first, then get to shelter on the other side of the street, then get past the zombie hide-out and, finally, make the last leg to the safehouse. Now, have a nice cup of tea and wait for it all to blow over. Job done.

5. Manage by exception

Do not – we repeat, do not – inform the authorities of anything unless there is a serious problem. If the project is going well (or, in this case, not badly) then there shouldn’t be much need for intervention from higher managers. If you give away your position and let the army (or project-management equivalent) come parading in then someone is bound to end up dead. Work the problem out amongst yourselves, have some faith and use your brains… before the zombies do…

6. Focus on products

Everyone should know ahead of time what is expected of the product. In this case, everyone should know that the ‘product’ is your life, essentially, or collective lives. The ideal scenario is that everyone survives, limbs intact, and every team member should be aware of this. These requirements will determine your work activity, not the other way around – like we said, don’t go for the knees… loss of head… not ideal. See what we’re saying?

7. Tailor to environment

Lastly, PRINCE2 is a tailorable methodology. No matter what type of zombie apocalypse you may be facing – be it Dawn of the Dead, 28 days later or I am Legend – you’re good to go. Projects that adapt this methodology to their needs are more likely to succeed than those that don’t. To put this into perspective, zombies have taken on many interpretations over the years, and if you’re trying to use PRINCE2 to tackle land-based zombies when your environment actually calls for defence against water-based zombies, then the outlook is bleak, to say the least.

So, there you have it, a whistle-stop guide to surviving a zombie apocalypse using the seven principles of PRINCE2. Perhaps it’s time to dive in and purchase a course then, don’t you think?

So, Happy Halloween from ILX! And good luck…