Project Management: A Systems Approach – A Book Review
Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling (Eleventh Edition) is the latest edition of a popular PM, business and engineering textbook by a prominent author, business consultant and educator. This is a comprehensive book that discusses PM concepts and history, processes, business and management principles, practical case studies, and study tips for certification exams, to name a few. This edition is updated with new materials and relevant content such as measuring PM ROI, added value, project sponsorship, project governance, culture, trust, and teamwork.
The hardcover book is 7.6” wide, 9.2“ tall and 1.8” thick. The eleventh edition was published on February 18, 2013 by Wiley, John & Sons. It contains 1296 pages. The front cover displays the title, title description and edition in the upper middle part and the author’s name in the lower part on a background of what looks like stacks of translucent blue blocks. ISBN-10: 1118022270; ISBN-13: 978-1118022276
Project Management: A Systems Approach is for a broad range of readers that include PM undergraduate and graduate students. It is also a book for the practicing project professional and management executive who can use it as a case study reference. Both the newly interested and those who have had experience about PM can benefit from the wealth of materials included.
What Customers Say
G. Barto (Amazon) recommends the book to professionals in an organization who have been asked to lead or belong to a project but which PM process and practice are not inherent in the organization.
Kannique from Bangkok (Goodreads) who read Project Management: A Systems Approach as a course material for a master’s degree program described the great discussion on project planning and risk management.
John Vacca (B&N), a former computer security official of NASA and author of several books, states that Dr. Kerzner’s book is a must-have for any person in the field of PM.
Content, Approach, Style
Project Management: A Systems Approach contains more than 1000 pages divided in 26 chapters and five appendixes. The first five chapters discuss basic knowledge to understand PM, while the next five deal with support function such as time and conflict management. PM principles and processes are discussed in the following chapters of their own such as planning, pricing and estimating, risk management and quality management. The latest edition includes more than 40 new sections such as a new section on added value, business intelligence, managing complex projects, scope creep, and agile PM. Many chapters end with a section on study tips for a PMI certification exam.
Dr. Kerzner’s approach in presenting the topics not only considers PM processes but also the business environment and the roles of people in that environment. Although the book is recognized as one of the essential textbooks in studying PM, it is also written with practicality in mind. Thus, it not only provides theories but also practical how-to tips that professionals engaged in actual projects would appreciate. As mentioned, it primarily helps the readers understand and be informed about PM principles and processes. Some readers find the presentation unappealing as it presents the topics with a teaching tone. However, the text, figures, charts and graphs are appropriately organized, divided and labeled in a clear manner.
Why Buy the Book
Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling is considered by many to be among the essential desktop references PM professionals should have. This latest edition is aligned with the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide. Moreover, the PM principles discussed shows the strong relationship between PM and productivity in companies. Whether in engineering, information technology, healthcare, or other industries, the discussion in this book shows that PM is not only composed of hard skills but also of soft and behavioral skills, mainly because, projects are still managed by people. With more than 20 case studies, hundreds of discussion questions, and five chapters of advanced topics and future trends, it continues to remain in Amazon’s Best Sellers top 20 in PM.
Books that Complement
For project professionals who are resolved and committed to pursuing a long career in the PM field, the PMBOK Guide by the PMI is a good companion to this book. Readers can cross-reference their discussion of principles, processes, and practices.
For those who want a balance between information and inspiration, Scott Berkun’s Making Things Happen is a refreshing counterpart. The essay form of presenting the topics, with some witty and humorous tone, provides a different perspective with the same goals of educating the reader about mastering project management.
Harold D. Kerzner, PhD, is Senior Executive Director and instructor at the International Institute of Learning (IIL), a company that provides training, consulting, and coaching for leading companies throughout the world. Dr. Kerzner has taught in several universities such as the University of Illinois and Utah State University. He is still currently a professor at Baldwin-Wallace College in Ohio. In partnership with the PMI, the IIL has recognized Dr. Kerzner’s contribution to the PM industry and has established awards yearly in his name.