The Four Directions of Project Management

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four directions

I’ve been adapting the Rational Unified Process (software development) to a micro-scale: my Sustainable Marketing clients. Drawing inspiration from the teachings of the Native American medicine wheel and Buddhist mandalas, I adopted the four stages of the process and aligned them to the four cardinal directions.

The circle is our most common symbol of completeness, movement, and harmony. The four cardinal directions are used by many ancient and modern traditions as a vehicle for guiding change and maintaining balance. The chart above illustrates the fusion of modern method and ancient wisdom. Applied to project management, they describe four stages of a project lifecycle. We use the chart to ask, “Where are we headed now?” to focus during each stage – and as a reminder, in order to keep time for all four directions in balance during the project.