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Project Management Manual
on 20 August 2013
This book is well over 1,000 pages long and is the eleventh edition by Harold R Kerzner. I have worked on projects for 30 years both in the capacity of a project engineer and as a project manager for a whole team. I have also acted as a facilitator on projects. About half of my projects have been outside the UK. I have a 2:1 degree in Engineering and an MBA. I have done a little Project Management (PM) training but have not come across this book before.
I have looked through it and will make comments on the sections of the book below. The book is packed full of systems related models, real life project examples -the good, the bad and the plain ugly - like the Iridium project that fell to pieces. The text also is full of questions and situations for the reader to answer. The book also is very focused on the requirements needed to get a formal PM qualification. It is US based but I see all of the subject matter will fit any project. I managed projects for my own plant as well as for other stakeholders. There is no difference in my view about any project. You still own it whether you commission and hand it over to your customer -and then walk away or if your own plant is the end user. You want it to succeed -your reputation (and new projects) depend on your performance. Now a quick zip through the sections:-
1.OVERVIEW: The scene-setter with the triangle of Project Cost v Time v Performance (deliverables). The danger signs where a project manager works more than 60 hours and has no social life -and often no marriage
2. PM GROWTH: In the 40-60's the line manager wore the PM hat as well as his own job. The book says that PM has evolved into a distinct profession in its own right that helps ensure the long viability of an organisation. The project life cycle and product life cycle are discussed. The PM systems approach of identifying a problem/opportunity > looking a solutions > selecting the "best" > implementing > reviewing learning points is discussed
3. ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE: Again the evolution of PM organisations and best use of resources with matrix and other structures discussed. A PM can have more than one master so who doe he please / report to?
4. SELECTING PM MEMBERS: With the right skills with the forming/storming/norming performing phases (often repeated as members come and go) There are examples of people who undermine project and the Project Manager -why? In other cases people take on a supportive role -why do they do it?
5. MANAGEMENT FUNCTIONS: Maslow's hierarchy of needs is discussed -especially Self-Actualisation. The continuum of telling to selling. The cartoon of the swing and the tree! Active listening is touched on on page 277 - most people talk and don't listen to each other or the client -don't tell the customer what he needs - the Iridium project (later) is an example of not listening. The section has many funny sayings -such a Gresham's - "Trivial matters are handled promptly -whilst important matters are never resolved (shades of Pareto?)
6. MANAGING TIME & STRESS: They come with the territory! What coping skills can you develop?
7. CONFLICTS: Yep -there will be many! More about resistance to change, blocking tactics -tools to reduce conflict
8. SPECIAL TOPICS: Staff performance and appraisals in a PM setting. Motivating them versus their own intrinsic motivation.
One thing that struck me reading this book is that it has many areas that are applicable to general management too
9. VARIABLES: This addresses metrics, best practices
10: WORKING WITH EXECUTIVES:Know how to talk to the white man -they could be sponsors, champions or blockers -work with them keep them in the loop. They can decide your future career path.There is a very interesting matrix on page 482 of stakeholder power versus level of interest. For the "high" in both the box says, "manage closely"!
11: PLANNING: The core of PM -plan a lot before starting -except there is the pressure to start with less information -how to reconcile this? The business case, Front End Engineering Design Specification, scope (this can undo you in no time at all), costs, deliverables
12: NETWORKS': All the PERT, GANTT Stuff -well worth a look at even though MS Project can tell you the critical path in seconds there is still the question -have you got all your assumptions in? GIGO
13 PROJECT GRAPHICS: Gantt etc. developments from the above
14 PRICING & ESTIMATING: Percentage accuracy, industry and local standards - working in foreign places with their own laws and practices can screw up you estimates in a moment -like labour costs, installation costs, quality of contractors etc.
15 COST CONTROL: Budgets, cash flow, trends, overspends - fig 15.3 shows who impacts on costs at various stages of a project's life. How to set KPI's -are they meaningful? Can they be measured? What do you do with a wayward KPI?
16 TRADE-OFF ANALYSIS IN A PM ENVIRONMENT: Back to the triangle on cost, time and deliverables and the way these three can stray outside the triangle. Don't buckle to a scope change -any changes need additional project approval -or they don't happen, Discussion about fixed price, lump sum contracts and other contracts
17 RISK MANAGEMENT: All business decisions carry risks not just PM. Learn form similar projects. If a project is cutting edge where is it in the R&D, pilot stages -is the project scope for a developing product or a proven one? Page 916 discusses some of these areas, including mock ups
18 LEARNING CURVES: How operating a process leads to more knowledge and a lowering cost per unit
19 CONTRACT MANAGEMENT: How bids will be handled, experience of contractors -including safety as paramount
20 QUALITY MANAGEMENT: All the usual suspects of ISO 9000 etc. The book says this are customer driven requirements. But this is full circle as organisations have customers, but the organisation itself is a customer to its own suppLiers -QED.
21 MODERN DEVELOPMENTS IN PM: The 5 levels of maturity are discussed on page 1071 etc. with many diagrams- the levels can be sequential or in parallel -for example, doing training and PM check lists together
22 BUSINESS SCOPE CHANGES: Touched on elsewhere -any scope creep or "wouldn't it be nice if..." need to managed very effectively as they impact on cost, time, IRR and deliverables -beware!
23 THE PROJECT OFFICE: Basically about PM certification
24 MANAGING CRISIS PROJECTS: Those that come out of left field like the J&J Tylenol disaster, Hurricane Katrina
25 FUTURE OF PM: The book says that the long term viability of an organisation is its growth and PM is the tool to deliver improvements that improve the organisation's future prosperity -remembering that all services, products have a life cycle.Look at why projects fail...
26 IRIDIUM: A detailed case study of Motorola's phone project which failed big style -was this push or pull?
So phew! If you are in project management or embarking on it buy this book -everything is pretty lightweight compared to the areas of PM that it covers