Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide – A Book Review
Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide (3rd Edition) is a comprehensive book that covers all the performance domains, process groups, and some. The latest edition has been updated to include discussions about the newest PMP certification changes as well as the impact of web-based PM tools. This guide intends to provide first time and relatively new project professionals a quicker, more accessible, and more affordable way to manage projects.
The paperback edition is about 7” wide, 9.1” tall, and 1” thick. It has 432 pages and was published on October 26, 2012 by QUE Publishing. The cover has the title in large fonts, with the words Absolute Beginner’s Guide on a background of yellow, consistent with the theme of the Absolute Beginner’s Guide series. An illustration of a peeping chick from a half-hatched egg on its side is near the bottom of the cover, just above the name of the publisher and the author. ISBN-10: 0789750104; ISBN-13: 978-0789750105
Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide is helpful to people tasked to manage projects for the first time but did not have the opportunity to go through a complete PM training program. The book is not a substitute for formal training, and would be an excellent companion during training. However, professionals who are relatively new to managing projects can feel more confident and prepared with this book as reference. It is for beginners who want more than an introductory book about the subject. Experienced project managers can use it as a refresher, especially those interested in the servant leadership approach.
What Customers Say
Charles Smith, an experienced project professional, found it easy to read but enlightening also. He realized why many of his projects were falling off track, and since then was able to quickly outline a project definition he can present for discussion at the next meeting.
Kim Kershaw, a veteran project manager of 24 years, found the book well organized, with the help of diagrams summarizing key points at the end of every chapter. The lessons and practical knowledge shared by the author can help make the learning curve ascend smoothly and quickly, according to the reviewer.
Naas Ferreira also liked the summary map at each chapter’s end, as well as the sections on MS Project 2010. The reviewer found the section on leadership different and intriguing, especially when readers are advised to take the perspective of other stakeholders.
Content, Approach, Style
Project Management Absolute Beginner’s Guide is divided into five parts, namely, Project Management Jumpstart, Project Planning, Project Control, Project Execution, and Accelerating the Learning Curve Even More. The first part, for instance, consists of three chapters about PM overview, the roles, skills, and qualities of a project manager, and elements of a successful project. Project planning is discussed in five chapters, project control in six chapters, and project execution in seven chapters, with the seventh chapter tackling the process of ending a project. The fifth part consists of three chapters that include discussions on making better use of MS Project, certain what-if conditions, and other PM concepts such as agile approaches, PM Office, and web-based PM tools, among others. The book also states at the beginning that the topic of program management and other advanced PM topics are out of scope.
The comprehensive coverage is comforting for some, giving good value for money. However, it can also be daunting to others, especially to the accidental project manager, who might see too much to take at a glance. Like other ABG books, it uses a teaching style to review essential techniques and skills, and presents the material in an easy-to-read and practical way as if an instructor were physically present. The cartoon-like half-hatched chicks appear throughout to signify special notes, tips, or cautions.
Why Buy the Book
Project professionals who are determined to deliver their first few projects successfully despite not having been sent to a complete PM training will find this book very valuable. Aside from tackling the required “hard” processes, it also coaches about “soft” skills like leadership, communication, and teamwork. The updated third edition keeps the reader in sync with recent industry changes, and adds to the practical value given by the useful diagrams and a 45-day free access to the online edition. Interestingly, it has remained in Amazon’s top 40 PM Best Sellers.
Books that Complement
As professionals accumulate experience and move up the corporate ladder, they are exposed to more of the business side of things. The book Guide to Project Management: Getting it right and achieving lasting benefit by Paul Roberts gives a timely insight in how connected managing projects are to managing the whole business.
On the other hand, people who manage projects in addition to their primary role may find Juana Clark Craig’s Project Management Lite as the right equalizer for keeping things lean while still achieving project goals and objectives.
Gregory M. Horine holds a double bachelor’s degree in marketing and in computer science from Anderson College, Indiana. He also has a master’s degree in computer science. He has an accumulated 23 years of experience as a business technology and IT project manager. He is a certified PMP and is recognized for advocating his servant leadership principles. Through this philosophy and approach of empowering teammates, improving project communications, and overcoming both technical and political hurdles, he has established a long track record of successfully delivered projects that meet objectives and stakeholder expectations.