“When you play the game of thrones, there is no middle ground. You either win or you die.” — Cersei Lannister

HBO’s blockbuster fantasy drama Game of Thrones is continuously extolled as a great source of inspiration for business experts. The epic series not only shows the dark sides of human nature in the struggle for power, but also reveals the strongest leadership qualities and failures. Ethics in Game of Thrones is limited only by the Night Watch Code, and the literal overkill in this show bears a striking resemblance to the complex business world.

As the name implies, Game of Thrones is the story of the representatives of seven kingdoms fighting to ascend the throne in Westeros. Watching new episodes of this cinematic adaptation, we begin to distinguish between its biggest losers and true leaders. Many casts of heroes have armed themselves with resources and strategies, but only few can enact their plans smoothly.

Let’s imagine for a few minutes that our favorite characters have access to a project management tool – Epicflow – and each of their steps strategically aligns with their goals. The following is PM software advice on how web-based resource planning can help the claimants to the throne by providing answers to the following questions. Spoilers from this point on.

Do I have enough people in my army to fight?

In the season 5 finale, we see how Stannis Baratheon epically dies at Brienne Tarth’s hand – we hear the sound of her sword cutting his head, to be specific – after his battle against Ramsay Bolton. The main reason Stannis is defeated is because he fails to evaluate his military strengths. Game of Thrones fans will then complain that the greatest commander in Westeros walks to Winterfell without cavalry or a strategy and with several hungry men. Epicflow critical chain project management software focuses on resolving resource problems.


This tool could have helped Stannis by signaling how many people he needed based on demand. Epicflow would have enabled Stannis to find the optimal number of dedicated fighting men and increase his power.


That’s why Epicflow suits leaders who are not quite sure whether their armies have enough soldiers or are flexible enough in their skills to join the battle. And Game of Thrones, beyond a shadow of a doubt, proves that you need sufficient troops to get to the Iron Throne.


The optimal number of fighters could mean two things: an immense army consisting of many people with specific skills (difficult to maintain) or a few people with universal knowledge. Epicflow is based on the less-is-more principle so you can deliver the most benefit with the least expenditure. In Stannis’s case, he doesn’t stick to either of these options, but there are scenes where the less-is-more principle is efficiently applied by Daenerys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons. She purchases the Unsullied, elite warriors born to combat from birth. They have their own optimization tactics on the battlefield based on their utter discipline, immunity to pain, and stress-free nature; it’s as if they have already learned these project management tips.

How much pressure should I apply to win every battle without losing my defenders?

Current project management methodologies encourage you to focus on people rather than processes. Epicflow’s feature – the pipeline – can show you who’s overloaded on the battlefield so you know where additional help is needed. Having early access to information is momentous, and Epicflow provides you with the necessary data in real time. We understand that you may be away from your people, and that’s why we’ve also developed iOS and Android versions to make it wearable.

Read on: Here’s expert advice on how to build an effective team.

If a project management solution were designed in the fantasy world of Westeros, we would trust its development to Tyrion Lannister, as he shows perfect skill at managing resources during the Battle of the Blackwater. He approaches a small number of people, trying to use their strengths rationally and effectively, and applying Wildfire to destroy Stannis’s superior fleet. The scope of this tragic victory is so immense that there are signs of compassion on the killers’ faces. Let’s summon up a project management lesson from this battle. 


Tyrion’s victory can be compared to the final milestone reached in managing a single project, which is far easier than handling thousands of resources and splitting them across various projects. Later, Tyrion shows us how to turn obstacles into opportunities, entering into partnership with Daenerys. The number of fighting men they’ll have to lead is an object of envy, but will they be able to supervise so many people at the same time without a tool for resource scheduling?

How can I align various military parties?

Daenerys Stormborn Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, operates an immense army that consists of 3 dragons, 8,000 Unsullied (infantry swordsmen and spearmen), 140,000 Dothraki riders, and thousands of supporters from House Tyrell, House Martell, and the Greyjoy rebels. In total, she has to manage 251,000 fighting men. In project management terms, the queen has to align multiple teams, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that she’s just as overloaded as, say, the CEO of a large international corporation like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft. Epicflow could provide Daenerys with the opportunity to track all her resources from one place and would be a great addition to her superpowers, allowing her to coordinate all these groups simultaneously. With this tool, workloads become more obvious. Daenerys would receive an overview of urgent tasks and the feasibility of milestones.


A vivid example of aligning armed forces can be seen in the Battle of Bastards. Sansa Stark correctly assesses the situation and brings in additional troops that make a decisive blow and help Jon beat Ramsay.


How can I spot bottlenecks and track overload?

Protecting the Wall from the attacks of the Wildings, Jon Snow sends fighters to defend the tunnel, the most vulnerable place. Though his men beat off the attack and kill the giant, they perish in the effort. The Wall has been protected, and the results are acceptable at first glance. But if the leader had used our project flow software, he would have understood that he needed several more fighters for his men to stay alive. To face a battle confidently, you should be able to predict bottlenecks and monitor resources to ensure they don’t get overworked. Jon Snow’s forces die because they end up overloaded. Have you ever noticed a similar phenomenon in project management? When your team is working excessively to meet deadlines, they may become exhausted, lacking energy to proceed with other projects.



How do I fight with uncertainties?

Let’s just admit that uncertainties come from nowhere both in project management and in Game of Thrones. We encounter various unexpected things in the PM domain, while the characters in this series will all (in future seasons) sooner or later encounter the White Walkers, a supernatural army of dead villains north of the Wall. The winter has come, but no one knows how to oppose this threat. Epicflow has resource buffers to deal with various uncertainties; these buffers create perfect flow by adding reinforcements to weak places. In the series, we can notice such “buffers” in the Wildlings who have recently strengthened the defense of the wall, always lacking people to cope with uncertainties. However, Jon Snow, who actually is the adopter of this method, soon gets killed because he is unable to convince the Watch of the effectiveness of adding more people with flexible skills to support the Wall. For such cases, our multi-project management software has a pipeline that spots bottlenecks and shows you in red when you get in trouble and how many people you need to meet your goal in a timely manner. Jon Snow could advance a reasoned argument with the help of Epicflow so he would never have to be revitalized in a dark magic ritual.


Do I need to train my force in new skills to pursue my goal?

Analyzing your data, a project flow app helps you determine whether your resources need to be trained in new skills when they have spare capacity. The Wildings, whom Jon Snow brought to the Night Watch, are fighting men who should be trained based on Epicflow’s algorithms to make them qualified to fight off the White Walkers or avert any other possible danger. 


Possibly, they could be trained in optimizing and better using their main strengths (they could have used the giant’s skills better, for example). Game of Thrones also proves that new skills are key to maintain the integrity of an army. Driven by this observation, Daenerys persuades the Dothraki soldiers to cross the sea, which they do fearlessly.

Read on: Here’s why your team will love using project planning tool.

Do my forces have a list of transparent priorities?

In case you don’t understand the meaning of priorities in war, let’s turn to Arya Stark for an explanation. Before going to sleep, Arya always repeats the names of her foes in succession, vowing to take her revenge on them. Arya’s death list reminds us of an ordinary list of project priorities with the exception that she’s not a leader who has the resources to keep her promises. She’s more like a helping hand to her brother and sister, a worker trapped in the need to prioritize intuitively based on the circumstances. If Arya had a leader to provide her with a list of priorities, mapped routes, and a sequence of tasks, she could avoid many obstacles on her way and achieve flexibility and speed. 


All the Giphs were taken from GIPHY

For now, she gradually deletes human heads from her list. It’s not easy to reach any milestone, especially of this scope, without a clear roadmap. Epicflow suggests a list of priorities based on demand after analyzing every possible combination of tasks. Those under your command should know what tasks are urgent and when they should execute them.


Read on: Learn how to prioritize like a world-class leader.

Should I allow flexibility in decision-making?

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Unfortunately, you can’t predict when your wheels will become squeaky, though you know it will happen sooner or later. The same is true with decision-making: even if you have a clear list of priorities, sometimes you’ll have to adapt to a situation using your local knowledge. Flexibility is crucial in management, and Epicflow allows for adjustments to existing priorities as the situation requires. This kind of resilience is practiced by survivors in the series. Let’s consider the role of Lord Baelish, or “Littlefinger.”

Littlefinger can do almost anything to make a glorious name for himself – he can plan to kill the king of Westeros or push a woman out of her castle. His nickname speaks for itself (despite the story of his familial roots): “Littlefinger” is a cunning man, able to turn troubles to his own advantage without being noticed. This kind of flexibility, however, is not applicable to the true successor to the throne, Ned Stark. He’s a true example of a leader who failed to follow the old canons of process improvement. Because of his resistance to change, Ned is decapitated in front of his daughters. This is a decisive moment that sparks a vicious circle of war.

Who’s the winner according to our prognosis?

Despite the death peacefully waiting at every corner, the leaders in Game of Thrones who have lived up to season 7 have concentrated on their superpowers or internal strengths that help them in achieving their most wanted goals and fighting uncertainties. Even though Daenerys Targaryen raises three flying beasts as the most dangerous weapon against her competitors, it would be unreasonable to forget how the Mother of Dragons treats her army: honestly and faithfully, just like her dragon kids. Daenerys knows how to adapt to four styles of leadership; she can be directive, tutorial, supportive, and delegative depending on the situation, from her brother’s and husband’s deaths to betrayal. She’s a good prototype of a leader who never forgets her mission and intelligently uses her strengths. She has every chance to win the game, but only time will tell.

Nevertheless, getting access to the Epicflow project planning tool could help anyone compete with the Mother of Dragons.

Sign up below for a free demonstration and find out how to become a winner.