We had such a blast writing (and discussing) last week’s post – Movies That Could Have Used a Project Manager – that we decided to return to our DVD library for a slightly different assignment: find movies that got the whole “project management” thing down. Whether they encompass impeccable scheduling abilities and effective collaboration skills, or the star turns out to be one heckuva leader, these are the movies that we think have the stuff of project management legend:

1. Ocean’s Eleven – The project: Rob three casinos. Not only has it never been done before, but each location houses a security system that rivals “most nuclear missile silos.” So what do you do? You hire George Clooney as your project manager, give him a team of eleven professional thieves (including Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, aka Achilles and Will Hunting), and watch them go to work. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t find a more attractive project team, you know?

2. Back to the Future – Great scheduling here. I’m going to assume everyone knows this story by now, so I’ll skip the big plot explanation, but Marty McFly gets his parents to fall in love after time traveling backwards 30 years and accidentally winning the affections of his own mother (not creepy at all). And he does so just before his parents’ images fade away from his only photograph from the future, and just before lightning hits the clock tower and sends him back to good ol’ 1985. Any questions?

3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – I think it’s safe to say that Ferris Bueller would be an incredible project manager. He prepares for every possible scenario, he’s brilliant at crisis management, technologically savvy (for the 80s), and he’s also really, really great at lip synching, a much over-looked project management skill.

4. Kill Bill (Vol 1 & 2) – Excellent use of a prioritized to-do list.

5. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Great team, greater resources. Aragon’s got a sword, Legolas is bringing his bow and Gimli the Dwarf could never leave behind that axe. Best to be prepared before you head off towards the sunny, exotic location of Mordor.

6. Labyrinth – I will never not use an opportunity to express my love for this film. However, all personal bias aside, Jennifer Connolly is downright impressive here. She navigates a labyrinth, avoids the Bog of Eternal Stench, faces off with DAVID “COOLEST PERSON TO EVER LIVE” BOWIE, and still saves her baby brother Toby from turning into a goblin (spoiler alert!). What have you done today?

7. 127 Hours – Project managers handle a lot of curveballs everyday and make some hard tradeoffs, but I can guarantee that deciding to cut your own arm off takes the cake.

8. Armageddon – With Bruce Willis as your project manager and Michael Bay as the director, of COURSE it’s possible to stop an asteroid hurtling towards earth by using massive explosives and a team of deep-core drillers! Hope NASA really studied this film closely (you know, just in case).

9. Chicken Run – Project: escape out of the chicken coop. Only problem is: you’re a chicken. And what are chickens really bad at? Flying. Figure that one out, because this pack of plucky poultry sure did.

10. Poltergeist – As a parent, you have to teach your kids many important life lessons: make sure to look both ways when you’re crossing the street, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t get sucked into televisions by creepy house-loving ghosts. Getting your kid back once that’s happened? Not so easy, but it can be done, at least in this movie.

Did we miss anything? Let us know your picks in the comments!

Movies That Were Great At Project Management was last modified: June 28th, 2013 by Alison Clancy