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Project Management in the Hundred Acre Wood

100 Acre Wood

We’ve been doing 360 degree assessments at work and when I was asked to describe a colleague as a shape, colour, animal or fictional character, and to explain my reasoning, I drew a blank. Matching shapes to people is not my strong point.

Some of you may know that my Master’s degree is in Children’s Literature. After pondering what I could reply to that 360 survey question, I suddenly realised that there are loads of great characters in children’s books. One of my all-time favourites is The House at Pooh Corner, and I saw that the Hundred Acre Wood, where Pooh has his adventures, is a microcosm of the world of project stakeholders.

Project stakeholders in the Hundred Acre Wood

Winnie-the-Pooh: The enthusiastic team member. Not a leader, but very loyal. Needs direction.

Rabbit: The busiest member of your project team. However, you don’t see very much output. Rabbits don’t achieve very much but like to think themselves very important.

Eeyore: The harbinger of doom on the project team. A plodder. Will do the job but is reluctant to change. Another loyal follower, if motivated the right way.

Tigger: Creative, inspiring and enthusiastic. Brings the team up when everyone is feeling demotivated. But it is hard to rein in a Tigger and get them to focus their energy on something useful.

Owl: Often in a project sponsor role. Wise. Authoritarian but not always right. Works best with guidance and recommendations which allow them to choose the next steps.

Christopher Robin: The project manager. Calm, level-headed. Christopher Robins help people out of a fix and are always willing to muck in.

Do you recognise any of these from your own project team? Or would you describe your team members as different characters from children’s books?


Photo credit: Eric Ritchley on Flickr




About Elizabeth Harrin

Elizabeth HarrinElizabeth Harrin FAPM is a professional project manager and award-winning blogger behind A Girl's Guide To Project Management. She's passionate about demystifying project management and making tools and techniques work in the real world. She's also the author of several books including the PMI bestseller, Collaboration Tools for Project Managers.
Elizabeth lives in the UK with her family. She uses her organisation and project management skills at home, and also to help other bloggers at Totally Organised Blogging.


  1. Caroline says

    1 October, 2012 at 11:40 am

    Have you read ‘the Tao of Pooh’ or ‘the Te of Piglet’? Benjamin Hoff uses the Hundred Acre Woods characters to explain Taoism – and goes into great detail of all their different ‘ways’. Great read! Thanks for the post!

    • Elizabeth says

      3 October, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Caroline, yes I have read ‘The Tao of Pooh’ but not ‘The Te of Piglet’. I hadn’t thought of that up until now though. But Pooh and friends are a great microcosm of society and therefore a great model for all kinds of things!


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