"Projects fail to meet goals for many reasons: poor time and budget performance,
inability to deal with complexity, uncontrolled changes in scope. Even the most
experienced project managers can be caught off guard. Performance Based Project
Management helps you avoid nasty surprises and enhance the probability of
success. Rather than simply implementing technical and operational requirements
the traditional approach you'll learn to focus on providing specific
capabilities that produce measurable business value."
So says the back page of the flysheet of author Glen B. Alleman's latest book. That's a pretty tall order and
potential readers should be wary of what is intend by the term "success", in what
environment, and who are you that might be seeking that success? So the promotional
material goes on to observe:
"Performance Based Project Management adapts the project management methods
originating in the aerospace industry to accommodate any project, in any industry,
and of any size."
While that may be true of any project, we think the traditional industries
like engineering and building construction are likely to be less interested. However,
the "step-by-step framework in the form of immutable principles, practices, and
processes" as presented by author Glen Alleman are much more likely to interest
project proponents in the many hi-tech and software industries. Indeed, this impression
seems not unreasonable given the author's background described below, the reading
list on his web site, and the author's assertion that:
"The singular beneficial takeaway of this book is:
- How to clearly define the purpose of the project; that is how to have clarity
- How to construct the artifacts, or elements, that represent that clarity,
- How to measure the performance of the technical outcomes from the work on
the project performed by the people."
That is the language of projects in the hi-tech industries.
Nevertheless, the author makes a great play of the word "done" that we think
is more insightful and more universal, and would even make a better title for
the book. As the author says:
"In this book the word 'done' has a special meaning. It means that the customer
is satisfied with the outcomes of the project."
We heartily concur. But then he adds:
"The customer must have specified these outcomes up front in the form of a
set of capabilities the project will provide, with some unit of measure meaningful
to the decision makers the customer. This is a very specific definition
and will be used throughout the book to mean 'compliance with all the measures,
technical and operational specifications, planned cost, and schedule'."
That's all well and good but not every proponent of a project is that technically
sophisticated and in many cases simply waits to see what "done" looks like to
decide: "Well, that's not really what I had in mind!"
In the chapters that follow, the author describes in great detail how "done"
can and should be achieved by applying the set of project management "principles,
practices and processes that are all needed for success". The details thus presented
provide an excellent macro project management process for any project work in
the medium to hi-tech industries. We will discuss this further in a later section
of this review.
The book concludes with a chapter on fourteen documents that the author thinks
are essential to be established during the execution of a project, if that project
is to be successful.
About the author
Glen B. Alleman has more than thirty years of experience as a program manager
and performance management consultant in the aerospace, defense, and enterprise
information technology fields. He is also author of a popular project management
blog called "Herding Cats". He lives in Niwot, Colorado and his web site is http://herdingcats.typepad.com.
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glen B., Performance Based Project Management, AMACOM, USA, 2014, p3
2. Ibid, p1