We Liked - Part 1
This book is well written in a down-to-earth style that
makes it relatively easy to understand and, for project management aficionados,
it is certainly very entertaining and enjoyable. Where appropriate, the book is
also well illustrated to provide a better understanding of the associated text.
to sound advice, the essence of the text is that projects in real life do not
respond necessarily to preconceived ideas, published standards, or even past experience.
In short, don't take anything for granted. Instead, be ever vigilant of the surrounding,
i.e., "situational" circumstances. Hence the book's repeated reference to "Situational
Project Management", or "SitPM" as described earlier.
A particularly interesting
feature is that a set of six Introductory Questions appears at the beginning of
each of the first five chapters. These questions are similar in format to typical
multiple choice exam questions providing options from which you, as the project
manager, should choose the best of several courses of action. However, the questions,
and the answers are far from black and white. Indeed, many of the options would
take your project down a quite different path and set of consequences.
fact, just like real life.
Yes, the book also provides the author's answers
to his questions, but not in the expectation of being right or wrong, but rather
on the basis of the circumstances described in the ensuing chapter. So, you are
invited to revisit the set of questions after reading the rest of the chapter
to see how the appropriate answers become clearer after digesting the circumstance
As an example, consider
question #4 at the beginning of Chapter 1 that states:
"4. Projects are different from operations in which of the
are limited by resources that may not be available in sufficient quantities at
are performed to meet objectives or satisfy needs, or to create another kind of
should be performed following the cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act.
are temporary endeavors and are unique by nature and definition.
and unique are attributes that distinguish projects from operations, which
are continuous and repetitive by definition. A note: Operations are of course
also temporary nothing lasts forever, at least in industry. The difference
is that projects are intended to be finished when work has been done and objectives
achieved. Operations are ended when their processes or deliverables are no longer
up to date, when resources in use are worn out, when the environment no longer
supports or accepts them, or when they are no longer a sustainable and profitable
Not everyone would agree with this cut and dried
answer, especially in the "uniqueness" aspect. But then that depends on how you
define "unique" must it be absolute, or just comparative?
For the record, out of the total of 180 possible responses, we got less than
half of them anywhere close and of the remainder, we had some difficulty with
the author's suggestions. Well let us just say a good topic for further
8. Ibid, p2
9. Ibid, p231