Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The Important Part of PM. A friend who is an experienced PM once remarked that there are three stages to becoming an enlightened project manager:Regardless of how true his theory is, People in Projects will certainly get you to the second stage of enlightenment, and also provide you with the knowledge and skills to manage stakeholder expectations, use effective intervention methods when things do get off track, and to maintain high project team morale.

The nine chapters in this 305 page book systematically cover all aspects of the people part of the equation. It starts with an accurate description of key management skills and duties required of a PM. It then addresses the basics of organizational planning, which focuses on roles and responsibilities. From personal experience I can attest that establishing roles and responsibilities is essential to project success.

Chapter 3, Human Resource Theory and Charts, sets the tone for the chapters on Staff Acquisition and Kickoff, and Team Development, both of which provide refined techniques for managing people and teams.

I particularly liked the chapters on resolving conflict (something that PMs deal with daily) and managing change, which is a constant. Since I work with multi-cultural teams that are international I also liked the chapter titled Worldwide Teams and Cultural Issues.

The chapter on project closeout and evaluation is a good reminder that there is a shutdown phase to projects, and this chapter provides guidance for how to perform this step in a structured manner.

Although this is a book on the PMI approach to project management, the material is also applicable to any project management methodology, including the UK standard (PRINCE2) and CompTIA's IT Project +.

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