It is easy to fail when nearing completion,Tao Te Ching
therefore, take care right up to the end,
not just in the beginning.
Introduction to 5-PATHS™
5-PATHS™ Project Management Philosophy / methodology is fundamentally based on the western "Goal Directed Project Management" philosophy and on the eastern "Five Elements" theory. There are also other important sources applied such as Silva's Mind Control Concept and the responsibility matrix of Summit-D Systems Delivery methodology to make our approach more efficient, practical and understandable.
The term 5-PATHS basically refers to the five essential Result-paths of the projects listed below (P.A.T.H.S.).
Processes & workflows development
Data, reports & knowledge development
Systems, tools, applications development
People, Human capabilities development
Organizations & Group structure development
Goal Directed approach
GDMP / 5-PATHS™ history
They had an influence on 5-PATHS...
I've been managing projects since 1993...
From 1999 to 2011 I've studied and researched thoroughly ancient cultures back to 5000 years including the Taoism, the book "I Ching" and "Five elements" theory.
In 2005 I had a dream to combine the recent western management methodologies with the ancient eastern management philosophies.
Thanks to Tom Graves for his great essay "Five elements to model workplace dynamics" published in 2002. In 2005 this essey illuminated how to combine the five elements theory with GDPM basics.
Thanks to the developers of the New York State Project Management Guidebook. This open guidebook had also an influence on the development of 5-PATHS methodology framework.
Thanks to Allan Elder's "Five Elements of a Project" essey. Allan's five project elements point out the essence of the Project Management. "#3 - One Accountable Entity"
Thanks to Jose Silva's "Mental Screen" technique of his Mind Control method. This is really aligned with the Goal Directed, Success Driven Project Management philosophy.
Many thanks to my mentor György Törő for introducing the GDPM basics in 1998. Many many thanks for all his great ideas, instructions and help in Project Management. "A Project has only ONE Project Manager"
Special thanks to Erling S. Andersen, Kristoffer V. Grude, Tor Haug, Rodney Turner and Mike Katagiri for the fantastic GDPM philosophy!
And last but not least thanks to the ANCIENT EASTERN SAGES and gurus for the "Five Elements" theory and for the book "I Ching"!
The five elements theory
developed in China thousand years ago
In most ancient cultures elements principally appeared as subtsances (Hinduist, Hellenic) or sensed, perceived physical things (Buddhist). The Chinese philosophy conceived of the so called "Five elements" (Wu Xing) as dynamic states of Change. The very ancient concept of Wu Xing is applied as a universal device in Chinese thought including military strategy, martial arts, astrology, science, philosophy, music, medicine as well as Feng-shui.
According to some researcher's opinion it was applied primarily in ceremonies and political management several thousand years ago. (Among of others, that is why it became the keystone of our Project Management methodology).
Although the the term "Five elements" is frequently used and wide-spreaded, the correct translation of the original
Chinese term ("Wu zhong liu xing zhi chi") would be the "Five Qualities of Change", "Five States of Change" or "Five Movements of Change".
This ancient holistic theory comprises a dynamic system that describes natural, cyclical movements within space and therefore time as well. This approach enables a practitioner to think and act more efficiently.
The theory describes the five observable qualities, elements, states or transition stages of the CHANGE with their complex interactions and interrelationships. It represents five different qualities of natural phenomena rather than five fixed substances.
The five universal, interconnecting elements / qualities / movements of change - in the order of natural lifecycle from beginnings to completions - are the following:
- ㊍ Wood element (green) - originating, generating, forming & ascending qualities of changes
- ㊋ Fire element (red) - growing, developing, expanding & culminating qualities of changes
- ㊏ Earth element (yellow) - receptive, central, stabilizing, harmonizing & transitioning qualities
- ㊎ Metal element (gray-white) - structural, diminishing, realizing & releasing qualities of changes
- ㊌ Water element (blue-black) - descending, finishing and gathering qualities of changes
All the five states/elements/QUALITY of the CHANGE are ESSENTIAL, but none of them should be under- or overemphasized. There is another important thing: nothing is constant but the Change itself. The ancient Eastern approaches including Five Elements theory announce that all things are cycling and changing and the CHANGE itself is in balance when all the five elements interact in harmony.
Please note that usually we are not talking about real materials in relation to Five Elements. The names are rather symbolic, the metaphorical representations of the way the changing energy / quality behaves. The ancient Eastern approaches (content of the Book of Changes /I-Ching/, Yin-Yang, Five elements) can describe all phenomena of our changing world, however we only introduce it as the part of our comprehensive change and project management approach.
5-PATHS™ PM philosophy and framework
(developed by Attila Lukács 2005 - to date)
The term 5-PATHS basically refers to the five essential Result-paths of the projects. However, as we inspect the entire methodology framework at top level, we can see it handles the following components:
- the five major Project types (P.A.T.H.S.)
- the five major Uncertainty and risk factors of Projects (each also has five child areas)
- the five essential Result-paths of the Projects (P.A.T.H.S.)
- the five Project Management LifeCycle elements (Origination, Initiation, Planning, Execution/Control, Closure)
- five unique Project LifeCycle elements (e.g.: Preparation, Design, Realization, Final preparation, Go-live and support)
- the five 'ideal' Responsibilities of project milestones and activities (I.D.E.A.L.) - similar to RACI
- the five smart Features of Milestones and Project Goals (S.M.A.R.T.)
About the number 5 (five)Why is number 5 (five) so important in our project management approach and in the entire methodology? As we mentioned, our 5-PATHS™ heavily relies on the "Five Elements" theory, classifies projects into five different categories and walks through the five essential result-paths when defining GOALS. This would be a self-sufficing argument, however using number 5 (five) also guides us to a senseful and interesting world !
- Our brain could still easily memorizes the quantity of five (things, components, elements, anything...). and at the same time it is capable to depict complex phenomena of our life!
- Number five is symbolizing the Human Being itselft. It is very important as we are the CENTER of all planned CHANGES ! (Please note that is common in the western as well as in the eastern cultures...) Also, Human beings have 5 main organs, 5+5 fingers, 5+5 toes, 5 main sensories and 5 limbs !
- Number five is symbolizing progress, evolution, energy and five main directions/elements in a change process
- Furthermore number five is symbolizing harmony, balance, happiness, accomplishment and perfection
- And last but not least, this is a prime number. Prime numbers are very important in our life... Five is however, not only an "ordinary" prime number.
About the acronym and word PATHSTo represent our holistic project management approach in verbal and written manner, we invoked the English language (as the world's current, common business language), the eastern philosophies and some "tricks" to create a very expressive agnomination.
All five parts (and their child areas also) are represented verbally by the acronym and word "paths". It has an adequate MEANING in English. Paths are the trodden ways, routes, courses which might imply both the ways of changes and the routes of changes as depicted in the "Five Elements" theory. Nevertheless these five initials - P.A.T.H.S. - always reminds us the name of the five essential paths to be followed when defininig our projects goals. In the 5-PATHS™ methodology, the letters of "PATHS" correspond to the five elements / movements / quality of CHANGE !
Please note that the acronym "P.A.T.H.S." never refers to a sequential or logical order in our methodology as far as the order of initials concerned ! The "Five Elements" theory depicts the elements/movements of the change in the order of natural lifecycle from beginnings to completions. According to this order our acronym would change to the meaningless acronym: S.A.H.T.P.
Components of 5-PATHS methodology
Components - corresponding to "Five Elements" theory in the order of natural lifecycle from beginnings to completions - listed in the table below:
"a crowded Wood"
"illuminating as Fire"
"center as the Earth"
"the structure of Metal"
"flowing as Water"
Project Management Life Cycle (PMLC)
4. Execution & control
"Forming" - Origin
"Storming" - Creativity
"Norming" - Center & balance
"Performing" - Execution, control
"Adjourning" - End, close
5-PATHS™ ➄Life Cycle phases
The five Project Management Life Cycle phases + Project Life Cycle phases
Project Management Life Cycle = Enterprise Project Management Process!
The five PM Life Cycle phases aligned with the 5 elements theory
The generative PM Life Cycle
The ❺ Project Management Life Cycle elements model of 5-PATHS™ methodology - see full document here -> Open PDF file
Alignment with the 5 elements theory (excerpt from the PDF)
- Always start with Project Origination element and its transition processes properly
- Avoid skipping any element or transition phase/stage of “Generative circuit”
- Prevent going to the opposite direction of “Generative circuit” of Project Management Lifecycle
- Stay away from underemphasizing a Project Management element or its transition processes
- Keep away from overemphasizing a Project Management element or its transition processes"