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Project Management Lessons - From Making of Konark Sun Temple

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Konark Sun Temple was built in 13th century (around 1250 AD) by the then king of Orissa, King Narshinghadeva I. King had ordered his chief architect, Bisu Maharana to build a magnificent temple for the Sun God. As per the King, the temple had to be nothing less than a marvel. The 1st ray of the rising Sun should fall on the Sun Deity inside the temple in the morning. If the temple will not be built in time and as per expectations, then the whole team will lose their lives.

The temple was the one of the biggest ever built by the famed craftsman of Orissa. Twelve thousands of the best from the land had worked tirelessly for 12 long years under the leadership and guidance of Bisu Maharana to build the Sun temple. It was the pinnacle of craftsmanship, architecture and details ever put together.

This definitely will be one of the grandest, ambitious, yet Successful Project efforts that would have been undertaken in history. The team could complete building the temple in time and exceeding all expectations. This effort has been written in golden ink in history as a testimony of team work, dedication, craftsmanship, courage and leadership.

This project also had the basic triple constrains of scope, time and cost laid down for the team. We can easily learn some of the greatest lessons of project management from the making of Sun Temple.

What made the team succeed, even against the greatest odds, obstacles and technological challenges?

The team led by Bisu Maharana had put into use both the proverbial “Hard Skills” and “Soft Skills” of project management for this effort.

Hard Skills:

Making the right blue print for the temple architecture, defining and enumerating the scope of work with every detail, estimating time and resources (man and materials) needed for each piece of work, identifying the right skill sets and man power, identifying the source of various materials needed for construction, planning for logistics, devising a well-defined methodology for construction to be followed (Quality Assurance) etc

Soft Skills:

Great team work, smooth communication (even in absence of today’s technology), great coordination, and leadership, inter personal skills, right person for the right job with right skills (domain expertise), ability to work with focus under pressure, patience, dedication, trust and respect etc.

The team faced various challenges in the course of building the temple like any other project effort. But it could overcome each time by virtue of their domain kno wledge, skills, unconditional commitment and sheer will to succeed.

There are many interesting folklore around Konark Temple construction, which again speaks of greatest human virtues. Will touch upon them in next articles….

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