Guide to Project Management – A Book Review
Guide to Project Management: Getting it right and achieving lasting benefit (Second Edition) is part of the Economist series of books, particularly under the Business and Management group of books. It is the updated edition of a 311-page 2007 book. Updated material about project prioritization, vision articulation, and tools such as flowcharts, diagrams, and tables have been included or made more relevant. Emphasis is made also in the need for the whole organization, not just the project team, to contribute for the success of the project.
The hardcover edition is about 5.8” wide, 8.7” tall, and 1.3” thick. The second edition was published in February 2013 by Wiley, John & Sons and has 360 pages. The front cover has a blue background, white-colored fonts for the title placed at the upper part, and an artistic illustration below. ISBN-10: 1118383702; ISBN-13: 978-1118383704
Guide to Project Management is for a broad range of readers, for both the relatively new and the experienced project professional. It will be appreciated more by those who have undertaken several projects, especially those who had been part of not-so-successful ones. However, this book is not confined to project managers only, and should also be read by senior executives, business owners, and other decision makers alike. It is for people who know and have realized that change impacts the whole organization.
What Customers Say
A reader highly recommends the book to anyone who is interested to have “a solid foundation” of PM.
Another advises readers to read the author’s “comprehensive, masterful, and highly detailed book” on PM to avoid turning the organization’s next big project into a failure.
Another reader describes it as “clear, easy to understand and filled with comprehensive yet practical advice and guidance.” (Publications, Retrieved October 1, 2013 from www.fifthday.com)
Content, Approach, Style
Guide to Project Management starts with an introduction about how PM and business management are not really disconnected from each other. It is then followed by 12 chapters such as The components of effective PM (Chapter 1), Conceiving and prioritizing projects (Chapter 2), Project roles and responsibilities (Chapter 3), and so on. The book discusses an approach how to engage project stakeholders effectively and then proceeds to the processes of initiation, planning, delegation and closing. In Chapter 4, Articulating the Vision, it suggests the importance of accommodating and expressing the wishes of the three stakeholders, namely, the user, the specialist, and the sponsor, in any project vision statement. When all three perspectives are harmoniously joined together, the vision is able to clearly, completely, and coherently articulate the true purpose of the initiative.
Aside from giving a structured approach to managing projects, Guide to Project Management also emphasizes the effect of projects as an agent of change on the whole organization, not only to the user, the project team, or the sponsors. It emphasizes the importance of understanding the overall impact on the organization and business, and so recommends the involvement and collaboration of everyone from the beginning. Each chapter is divided into smaller topics properly grouped with headings and subheadings. Figures and tables are clearly labeled for quick reference. It uses a variety of sentences with a mix of common business and PM terminologies.
Why Buy the Book
Guide to Project Management is a unique and valuable book in how it easily relates PM practice and business culture with one another. As the author clearly points out, one is not separate from the other. As projects can deliver change to make businesses succeed, so does business decisions and culture can easily make projects fail. There must be an important reason why the PMI added Stakeholder Management as the tenth knowledge area for PMP certification exam. This book has been trying to explain the reason from the start.
Books that Complement
The Fast Forward MBA in PM by Eric Verzuh gives a comprehensive step-by-step guide for project teams to deliver on time and on budget. This becomes easier, of course, once the stakeholders have been properly identified and convinced to actively participate and support the endeavor.
Another top candidate to complement the book is Greg Horine’s Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide. It is a comprehensive book that discusses all performance domains, process groups, and knowledge areas together with the latest tools and changes in the PM industry.
Paul Roberts is an author, a management consultant, and a founder and director of England-based fifthday.com, a change management consultancy. With over 25 years experience in project, programme, and change management, Paul shares his knowledge and expertise through his books and through his professional services. Having helped organizations of different sizes, including British Airways and Pfizer, he continues to help customers learn and practice effective PM principles, techniques and culture through consultancy, interim resourcing, and training and education.