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“Agile Business Secrets of the Pharaohs” – review by Brian Wernham

December 10, 2012

“Agile Business Secrets of the Pharaohs” – review by Brian Wernham

The recent book by Mark Corrigan, “Business Secrets of the Pharaohs” (British London, 2012), makes the claim that one of the eight habits of highly effective Pharaohs was to “Build big pyramids”. [1]

So, then, let’s put this brilliant insight into one question: were Pyramids a result of Waterfall planning, or the result of Agile thinking?

Certainly, the largest pyramid at Giza took an estimated 100,000 slaves and many years to build.[2]

Is the monumental scale of just one pyramid the proof of the superiority of the Waterfall project approach? Corrigan’s argument seems to back this up. A large, monolithic project is just what a strong leader with a big idea needs:

“Would you rather be known as someone who paid great wages and was well liked by his colleagues, or as someone who, yes, may have had a few slaves, but built a pyramid that he wrongly believed helped his soul transmute to another realm? I think the answer is clear.”

However, I believe that we should take into account that over 138 pyramids were built in Egypt, so obviously experience from one ‘iteration’ (or shall we call it a Sprint?) fed into the next iteration, culminating in the Great Pyramid.

Corrigan points out that implementing by “Evolution – not revolution” is another of the eight habits of highly effective Pharaohs. He provides a fascinating description of the creation of a new god “Serapis” building on product attributes of previous Greek and Egyptian deities, with, in effect, the Pharaoh acting as a Scrum “Product Owner” and his (or her) priests as the agile development team.

So – there we have it. Proof that if you want to build a 3,000 year long dynasty you should use the Agile Approach to Project Management. [3]

Comment below….

References:

[1] Mark Corrigan, “Business Secrets of the Pharaohs” (British London, 2012), http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entertainment/articles/2012-12/05/peep-show-mark-corrigan-business-secrets-of-the-pharaohs

[2] Dunham, Dows. “Building an Egyptian pyramid.” Archaeology 9, no. 3 (1956): 159-165, http://www.gizapyramids.org/pdf%20library/dunham_arch_9_1956.pdf

[3] See also Brian Wernham, Agile Project Management for Government (New York, London: Maitland and Strong, 2012)

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