Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know That Everyone Else Does Not – A Book Review
Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know That Everyone Else Does Not, is the result of a study that involved the comprehensive survey of 860 project managers and over 4000 stakeholders. From this landmak study and through in-depth interviews and discussions, the author uncovered the common attributes and traits of those who stand out from the rest. Some of these traits are attitude and belief, focus and prioritization, communication, and approach, among others. By exploring and explaining these key areas, readers are able to gain insight into the mind of these top managers and learn their secrets.
The 2016 paperback edition of Alpha Project Managers measures 5.5 inches wide, 0.5 inch thick, and 8.5 inches long, with a shipping weight of 1.2 pounds. The 208 pages are divided into 12 chapters. Aside from paperback, it is also available in hardcover and Kindle formats. It was published by Velociteach in February 2016 in the English language. This second printing expands on the work done in the original study (2006) with additional updated research and statistics. ISBN-10: 0990907414; ISBN-13: 978-0990907411
Alpha Project Managers is for every project professional, experienced or beginner, who wishes to learn, be guided, or emulate the thoughts, practices and approach of the top most successful project managers involved in this study. It is also a reference to students of project management, coaches and trainors, and any business manager who believes in a philosophy of continuous improvement.
What Customers Say
Erik G. (Amazon) stated that the conciseness that the author provides in the book is commendable. He thinks that although the study was not exactly scientific, there is much to be gained since information obtained was not just from project managers, but also from customers, team members, and senior management. This provided a 360-degree peer review. The conclusions of the study highlight real and perceived differences between Alpha Project Managers and the other 98%, which he believes can serve as a guide to the path of personal continuous improvement.
Jason S. (Amazon) noticed that the graphics and cover of the book is not as good as other books, but the information inside is fascinating. The author tried to identify project managers who were consistently rated as excellent by the people they worked with and their customers. The book did a good job in trying to help readers understand which habits make the difference, and how to apply them to their own work.
Tony V. (Goodreads) stated that Alpha Project Managers is able to provide valuable details on specific attitudes, basic beliefs, habits and practices that contribute to the success and excellence of this group of PMs. He was surprised to learn that seemingly minor habits can have major impact on the project they lead. He recommends the book to others, which can stimulate a lot of thinking for the short time that will be invested in reading it, since it is not a lengthy read.
Content, Approach, Style
Content: Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know That Everyone Else Does Not, contains 208 pages divided into an Introduction and 12 chapters. The introduction discusses assumptions, our natural resistance to challenge it, and the opportunity of progress once an assumption is found to be incorrect. Chapter 1 identifies the main problem of project management, which points to project managers. Chapter 2 further discusses the Alpha Study, and Chapter 3 presents the Alphas, or the 18 project managers that excellently stood out from the rest. The next 8 chapters discuss the attributes and traits of these Alpha PMs, which falls under attitude and belief, focus and prioritization, communication, approach, relationships and conflict, alignment, issue management, and leadership. The final chapter discusses what readers can learn from these top 2 percent.
Approach/Tone: The author presented his study in an informational approach, citing the results of the survey and other statistics. It is presented in an orderly sequence, with the objective of the study discussed first, then identifying the problem, presenting the solution and details. The attributes or traits discussed fall under an art rather than a science, so there is no enumeration of which is more important than the other.
Style: The book is concise from a good summary of the study. The topics are clearly identified with titles and headers. Paragraphs are of readable length, and the language is simple. Project management terms are explained clearly, with additional charts and illustrations as learning aids.
Why Buy the Book
As the book has stated, project management is an indispensable skill today in business. Learning what successful project managers know and do is a great advantage over knowing just basic project management. Regardless of whether you can land on the top 2% or not, learning what works and what does not, is always a great personal investment that can enhance one’s personal career with long term effects.
Andy Crowe, PMP, PgMP, PMI-ACP, is the founder and CEO of Velociteach, a professional training and coaching company based in Kennesaw, GA, USA. Andy began his career in software development. He became a leading project manager in the IT industry who has led several high-profile international IT projects. He was appointed to serve on several advisory committees, including serving on the PMI’s team for the third edition of the PMBOK Guide and the OPM3. Andy is also the author of the respected PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try. He continues to deliver speeches that center on project management and teams in events, conferences, and PMI meetings.