10 Project Management Lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy (Spoilers)

As many action movie lovers, I went to Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend. It was amazing: The movie had a clever narrative, well-developed characters and incredible action scenes.
This movie is a must-see for project managers, but I recommend it to everyone.

I was totally distracted by Guardians of the Galaxy while watching. While I was enjoying my popcorn and immersed in the beautiful cinematography, my project management hat was still on.
There were too many valuable lessons from Guardians of the Galaxy in project management to be missed. This post contains spoilers so don’t continue if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
Here are ten of the most important lessons that Guardians of the Galaxy can teach you about project management:
1. Look out for non-verbal communication.

Groot really doesn’t have much to say. Literally. Literally. Groot’s facial expressions and demeanor bring life to an otherwise boring personality. Groot isn’t saying it, but viewers know that he is “good”.
This lesson should be a wakeup call for project managers. Project Smart estimates that up to 90% of project managers’ day is spent communicating with their team or giving presentations. Instead of chatting for the entire time, sit back and observe how your team interacts. Pay attention to how they communicate and their body language. This could give you valuable feedback on the health of your team’s functioning. It can also reveal who is truly invested in the project and who isn’t.
2. Serve your team by going above and beyond.

Drax doesn’t get along well with anyone. He fights Groot. Rocket is verbally attacked by him. He almost kills Gamora. Drax is a loyal follower, and he acts without self-interest when helping Peter to bear the Infinity Stone’s power. He may even risk his life.
Drax is not a valuable member of team until he comes to terms with his anger and himself. Drax can finally see the end of his personal mission when he lets go of his ambitions to kill Ronan alone. He is only useful when he embraces the idea that he can be of service.
I have written extensively about the importance of servant leadership, project management, and how to do it. You may have personal goals, such as to climb the corporate ladder to COO or to be commended by your office. But if you don’t let go of your desire to serve your team members and your projects, none of these things will happen. You will reach your career goals.
3. Plan ahead.

My favorite part of Guardians of the Galaxy is the escape from Kyln. Rocket was brilliant. Rocket was brilliant. He used the knowledge he gained from breaking out several other prisons to know exactly what materials he required and who would be the best at retrieving them. He knew that Groot would quickly put the plan into action, but he had prepared his team for it.
The project was completed with great success.
Rocket’s plan was sound. Rocket had considered all possible sources of project failures (except for being killed in a gunfight, but hey, he is a superhero) and the team was successful as a result.
Also, the Guardians were saved by planning in advance.
Then there’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along planning, like when Drax attacks Ronan in Knowhere. Drax suffered a humiliating and demoralizing defeat.
It is crucial to plan in project management. TechRepublic says, “Poor planning can be project management mistake number one.”
To maximize your project management skills, you might consider using Agile or iterative methods.