Flash – Project Management and History (1) – Ancient China


Today, we speak of ancient China.


In the ´T’ai Kung’ one of the famous military classics of ancient China, the ´Fu-hsin` (Chief of Planning) is foreseen:

`One: in charge of advising about secret plans for responding to sudden events [Nowadays one would call them Contingency Plans]; investigate Heaven so as to eliminate sudden change; exercising general supervision over all planning; and protecting and preserving the lives of the people.’

The T’ai Kung dates back to the Warring States period (403-221 b.c.) in its discovered form, but was probably originally conceived at the beginning of the Chou dynasty (1045-770 b.c.).

It is very precise on a point: the Chief of Planning is one.


The T’ai Kung stresses the importance of organizing the state, both in peace and in war.

On the other hand, an ancient Chinese army required an enormous amount of effort to make everything ready for a campaign: logistics was huge and equipment was very articulated.

Organization was very important (exactly as in Prince2 project management): long and very specific descriptions of military roles are given.


Training is considered very important in another military classic, the Ssu-ma (about fourth century b.c, but it probably comprises much older material).

Ssu-ma means “the officer in charge of horses”: that says a lot, doesn’t it?

`In warfare: it is not forming a battle array that is difficult; it is reaching the point that the men can be ordered into formation that is hard.’

That doesn’t entail training only, but also a lot of logistics and planning.

About benefits: `When they [the masses] thereby produce what is profitable, this is termed “having resources.`


Produce what is profitable: there must be products and those products must be profitable.

Why should we be surprised that Prince2 is conquering China? Prince is product-based; besides, it says a project must be profitable through its products.

Ancient Chinese had reached very important conclusions centuries before Christ.

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