Regular and perceptive readers of this web site will recall that I first commented
on Bridging the Business-Project Divide in the Max's Musings department
in July 2015. I picked on the most obvious challenge for project managers,
which is the tracking of project costs and hence reconciling project costing with
the corporate financial bookkeeping records. In fact the requirements of the
two are so different that the two are almost irreconcilable.
However, today I want to take a look at the whole book.
I must confess that on first reading this book's title, and particularly the sub-title, my reaction was: "Here we go again, another author trying to promote a new project management sideshow, off the main stream as it were." How wrong I was! Author John Brinkworth tackles the serious difficulties that every project manager and members of the project team encounter at the interface between the project environment and the Business environment that the project is designed to serve.
And it is not just a question of communication failure. John correctly identifies the source of the problems typically encountered as one of differing cultures. That is, the difference between the experience, performance and attitudes that exist in the established Business (i.e., Business-as-Usual) community and those of the transient project management team.
Then, as John takes great pains to make clear, the contents of this book are not the result of academic scientific study, but rather the documentation and advice born of direct personal experience. And, moreover, not just as an observer, but as one who has clearly been at the center of active projects, right from its early stages of idea formulation through to the final stages of product delivery and benefit ramp-up. As it says on the back cover of the book:
"In organizations these days, there are two cultures, two sets of expectations, two languages; that of the business-as-usual organization and separately that of projects. These cultures need to work together effectively. Unfortunately, the natural side-effect of such different perspectives is misunderstanding, mutual incomprehension, and despite good intentions on both sides, failure to deliver desired benefits." (Emphasis added.)
As we shall see, this book covers the territory very thoroughly, throughout a project's life span and beyond, with the objective of uncovering the inter-cultural challenges, and then offering ways in which to overcome them. While the book will be of especial interest to those involved with in-house projects such as IT and similar, it also covers many aspects that are generally applicable to projects undertaken under contract, such as in the construction industry.
About the author
John Brinkworth is a management consultant who assists clients to improve their
processes for project and program management. He is also part of the associate
faculty at Henley Business School. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors
(IoD), a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, a Certified Management
Consultant (CMC®), a Chartered IT Professional and an Associate of the Chartered
Quality Institute. His focus is on identifying pragmatic solutions that can increase
the chances of project success.
1. See maxwideman.com/musings/divide.htm
2. Brinkworth, John, Bridging the Business-Project Divide, Gower Publishing Limited, Surrey, England, 2014, back cover
3. Ibid, p. vii