More than a year ago, I came across an unknown, for me, discipline: theosophy. I started gathering information reading some fundamental books, especially the original texts in English language of the late nineteenth century by Madame Blavatsky. In those thousands and thousands of pages they talk about projects.
They are short, medium and long-term projects, organized according to a common strategy, on a local, regional and global scale. This portfolio of projects was born in the mists of time and is projected into the future. I immediately noticed many similarities with project management and, above all, with sustainable project management.
Theosophy is internationally represented by The Theosophical Society, which was founded in New York City, in the United States, in 1875 and which has its historical headquarters at Adyar in India. Among its main objectives there are: an active brotherhood among people, the comparative study of ancient and modern religion, science, and philosophy, the knowledge of the laws of nature, and the investigation of the human innate powers. It deals with material and spiritual aspects.
Project management is represented at international level by various institutions, institutes and associations, which have been founded starting from the second half of the twentieth century. Its main objective is the organized and structured management of projects that are described as temporary initiatives, which serve to create unique products, results or services. In particular, sustainable projects are concerned with environmental, social and economic sustainability in the short, medium and long term, and on a local, regional and global scale.
All projects start from a need, which can be individual, collective, corporate or spiritual (“the breath needed a form”). And this is the initiating stage, the propulsive energy.
From this necessity, ideas, thoughts, requirements, technical specifications, and feasibility studies arise. The thought begins to take shape in the image and likeness of those who thought it. A working group and the designers create prototypes, choose measures, perform calculations, produce drawings, reports, and , at first preliminary and then executive, designs that describe in detail and unequivocally the idea on which to realize the creation. And here we are in the planning phase, and in the phase of the “divine fashioners”.
Then they look for resources, for example: materials, raw materials, workers, electricians, carpenters, local or imported building stones (“Pitris”). Tools, means and equipment are chosen. Human (or divine, or spiritual) resources are selected. And so the actual execution, the creation, begins.
For all the duration of the project there is always someone, who acts as a supervisor and a controller. They verify that what has been achieved corresponds exactly to the initial idea, and that the different parts are integrated with each other. They intervene if a corrective action is needed. We are in the monitoring and controlling phase.
Then the idea becomes concrete, takes shape, actually exists in the material plane and no longer only at the level of abstract, astral or spiritual thought. It is seen, touched, heard, smelled, and tasted. The project is concluded and can be left to its function, but only if it corresponds to the pre-established requirements.
If it shows any manufacturing defects, or if there have been any unexpected problems or difficulties, they can try to correct them with one or more experts and with an emergency or a rescue plan. If this does not work either, or if the project has disregarded expectations or has become detrimental to other projects connected to it, they can interrupt and destroy the badly created work. In the Indian Trimurti there are three characters: Brahma creates, Vishnu preserves, and Siva destroys. And this is the closure of the project.
Projects of sustainable project management really resemble those of theosophy.
Paola Morgese, PMP
Civil Hydraulic Engineer
M.S. Sanitary and Environmental Engineering
Translation of the Italian blog post: Paola Morgese, Project management e teosofia ovvero come il pensiero crea