Machiavellian PM Vol. I – Chapter 2

Machiavellian PM
Vol. I – Chapter 2

Hi, my name is Eduardo Espinheira, and I’m the Machiavellian PM!

As you probably remember from last time, I have a problem. I am addicted to Project Management! The other day, someone asked me what I was up to. I answered with a PowerPoint version of my portfolio that included all my projects and programs!

I wasn’t born like this. It grew within me, after many successes and failures.


“Without doubt princes become great when they overcome the difficulties and obstacles by which they are confronted.”

Uncle Nico Machiavelli


Let’s pick up where I left and share some more with you!

During my first years as a PM, most projects were easy. But then someone gave me my first strategic project.

I was always afraid of this definition. Usually, it means the project is not well thought, and most stakeholders are VIPs. As expected, all the main stakeholders were unavailable. On top of that, there were no defined expectations. I only had a couple of emails with more jargon than human words. My eyes were squinting in most sentences. I thought there was nothing I could do. I felt blocked. But I was not going to quit.

I started browsing my PM notes, and some quotes from my Uncle Nico Machiavelli. There was always something to use in these moments to give me some extra push.


“Irresolute princes, to avoid present dangers, generally follow the neutral path, and are generally ruined.”  
Uncle Nico Machiavelli


I felt energized. Every project needs a formal initiation stage. One of the best artifacts for that is a Project Charter. It centralizes, formalizes, and clarifies the expectations for everyone. But since most stakeholders didn’t make time to help me, I couldn’t define the Project Charter.


“Men are always averse to enterprises where difficulties can be seen.”

Uncle Nico Machiavelli


If I stopped at every obstacle I found, I wouldn’t be a real PM. So, I started to define the Project Charter structure. After all, there is some necessary information that should exist for all projects.


“God is not willing to do everything, and thus take away our free will and that share of glory which belongs to us.”

Uncle Nico Machiavelli


After browsing through most of the stakeholders’ names, I selected one. He would be my perfect partner in crime. He had less power than all the other stakeholders. But the impact of the project on his daily life would be gigantic. These stakeholders are usually more eager to help. That was how the first Project Charter was born.


“It is to be noted that a prince ought to take care never to make an alliance with one more powerful than himself for the purposes of attacking others unless necessity compels him.”

Uncle Nico Machiavelli


After the first draft, meetings were easy to schedule. The Project Charter was discussed, improved, and everything got clearer. Stakeholders were happy and engaged. I shared the final document structure with the rest of my team.

“By arming them, those arms become yours, those men who were distrusted become faithful, and those who were faithful are kept so, and your subjects become your adherents.”

Uncle Nico Machiavelli


With my mentor’s help, I was successful. But I still had a lot to learn in this journey to become the Machiavellian PM.

See you next time!


The  Machiavellian Project Manager is a comedic character created to show and demonstrate techniques related to Project Management. All the chronicles/presentations are based on fictional stories and use best-practices associated with Project Management and quotes from Niccolò Machiavelli.


PS: Don’t forget to join our next webinar to find out more about the Young Project Manager of the Year award for 2020, on the 31 of March, at 12.30 pm (UTC) and learn how to apply for the IPMA Young Project Manager of the Year award!

Please register in the following link:



About the Author

Eduardo Espinheira is a Human Manager, Facilitator, Change Igniter, Instructor and Speaker. He leverages organizations to become more predictable and achieve operational excellence through people engagement, facilitation, change management along with standards or best-practices adoption. He is the author of the MngtBugs & MngtFixes concepts and the Machiavellian PM character.