Every now and again it is nice, even comforting, to read a book on the basics or fundamentals of project management. Here is a book that does just that. It is a simple compendium of all the things that every project manager should know - from the start. And it is unique in a couple of ways.
Firstly, Joseph Heagney, author of the 4th edition, has updated this latest book from the previous editions that were written by a different and well-known author, James P. Lewis, PhD. That makes the contents well tried in the market place. The second reason it is different is that it devotes fewer that ten pages to the pronouncements found in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge ("PMBOK") published by the Project Management Institute ("PMI"). Instead, with the realistic pragmatism founded on project leader experiences and responses that have stood the test of time, it presents practical applications intended as a brief overview of the discipline of project management.
For example, Joseph observes in his Preface to the Fourth Edition:
"Projects are often accomplished by teams, teams are made up of people, and people are driven by ... Project leaders. Conspicuously absent from the preceding is the term 'manager', as in 'project manager'. If project managers manage projects, what do they do with the people who make up their teams or support networks in the absence of a formal team? Successful project leaders lead the people on their teams to consistent goal attainment and enhanced performance."
Unfortunately, our culture being what it is, "Project Leader" does not sound nearly as impressive as "Project Manager"!
As the back cover tells us: "The fourteen accessible and clearly arranged chapters feature enlightening examples and instructive, challenging exercises, the answers to which combine to form a valuable do's-and-don'ts list applicable to all your current and future project endeavors." Well, at least as the PMBOK guide says: "On most projects most of the time."
1. Heagney, Joseph, Fundamentals of Project Management, 4th Edition, AMACOM, NY, 2012, p xi
2. Ibid, back cover
3. PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition, (2008) Chapter 1, p3