I was recently asked, by a representative of Packt publishing, to review the new book <em>Managing eZ Publish Web Content Management Projects</em> by Martin Bauer. The book claims to be a source of "strategies, best practices, and techniques for implementing eZ Publish open-source CMS projects to delight your clients." In this review I'll try to relate just how well the work succeeds in its stated goal.
My first look at any technical book always centers on the chapter listing. There, I'm usually able to tell what topics will be covered and get an idea of the extent to which each topic will be covered. The table of contents is available on the book's at the Packt Publishing website. I can't link to it from here, but go to [...] and search for Manging eZ Publish and you can't miss it.
As you can see, most of the normal project management topics are covered, and I'd have to say they are covered quite thoroughly. Even without the inclusion of the eZ Publish specific chapters, this could have been a very solid book on software project management. The inclusion of specific information about eZ Publish, however, pushes this book from merely average to pretty darn good. Targeting topics such as content modeling eZ Publish specific implementation details, the book reaches out to its target audience, project managers utilizing eZ Publish as their tool of choice.
In this review, I'd like to focus on the three things that I feel this book does best and the two things that it most fails at. I'll start with the negative aspects.
First, the book has a serious problem with grammar and spelling errors. It was almost as if the copy editor only gave the book a single solitary glance rather than doing their job and examining the text in full. Spelling errors were rampant throughout the book both in the text and within illustrations. The grammar used was inconsistent much of the time, contributing to confusion at some points. The most odd thing was the "eZ Publish" itself was inconsistently spelled throughout the work. I'd think that if you were writing a book on a technical system that you would pay special attention to the spelling of that system at all times.
Second, some of the sections seemed to be lacking in details. For example, in Chapter 12 on training, the custom training contains no specifics on how to provide custom training or suggestions for performing end user training of custom features. Now, the author may have figured that custom solutions are so varied that nothing useful could be suggested, but there is no mention of this thought, and the lack of specifics was something I found rather disappointing.
In spite of these negative aspects, the book succeeds on many fronts. First, the work could serve as a great tool for any software project manager. Best practices and strategies are suggested throughout that are useful and time tested. The introduction of the Scrum methodology in the Open Project Management chapter is a great add and something that most modern PMs should know about.
Second, copious illustrations and screenshots are shown throughout the book. It has been shown that information is absorbed much better when shown visually to a learner. This book succeeds in highlighting important topics with visual aids that will help any project manager.
Finally, the discussion on risk management in this book is well thought out and explained. In my experience, risk management is one of the most important parts of any software project and I was happy to see that an entire chapter was devoted to the topic. Not only does this book cover risk management in general, it speaks out on the specific risks that a PM may face when implement an eZ Publish project.
Overall, I would rate this book very highly. It contains a copious amount of project management information and would be a good guide for any software PM. The eZ Publish specific information that is included in the work is interesting and often relates things that a beginner working with the system for the first time might overlook. If you're part of the target audience, a project manager who is working with the eZ Publish system, then it would be well worth your time and money to pick this book up and read it.