Project management lessons from Rush, via Phil Simon

Phil Simon is an author of several books, mostly related to the IT world, project management, strategy, and how businesses of all sizes can leverage their own data to achieve better results. In addition, Simon is a consultant, coach, and in-demand speaker. I previously wrote about an anecdote from his book, The New Small. His latest book is The Visual Organization: Data Visualization, Big Data, and the Quest for Better Decisions

In a recent blog post, Phil Simon attempts to connect the lyrics of his favorite band, Rush, with project management best practices. One of my favorite examples comes from the song Roll the Bones off the album of the same name:

Well, you can stake that claim
Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
If they don’t take that game
And sometimes the winner takes nothing
We draw our own designs
But fortune has to make that frame

Let’s be honest here. The best project manager, CIO, or consultant cannot possibly predict with any degree of certainly all of the forthcoming challenges of a major IT endeavor, much less the time required to resolve them. Sometimes an innocuous question results in the discovery—and resolution—of a problem that would have otherwise gone unrecognized. Yes, hard work matters. Project plans, testing, and the like are all important. However, try as we might to be all scientific about things, luck is huge. It ain’t all skill.


My favorite Rush song has always been, and continues to be Freewill from the album, Exit Stage Left:

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice. 
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. 
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill; 
I will choose a path that's clear- 
I will choose Free Will. 

Here is a video for you to enjoy:


Image courtesy