on 21 October 2013
Susanne Madsen, a coach in the field of project management - has delivered projects for a number of years and now supports others in the project execution . The book is designed to work through what you want to achieve from your projects, provide insight and provoke thought processes to help you achieve your goals. It addresses common challenges faced, providing tools and approaches which can be adopted to engage with on projects with an aim to drive a more confident and effective delivery approach. Susanne combines these tools and approaches to guide you through the bigger picture of managing projects, considering team leadership, effective relationship building and attitude to managing projects.
I must say that on a whole this is a fantastic workbook, as it really considers vital elements of what needs to be considered throughout the project lifecycle. As this is written from a coaching perspective the first step which talks through what you want to achieve is great because it is written for you rather than a text book which has a rigid path of author stating XYZ. By making you think about what you wish to achieve and the type of PM you want to be it really plays on your experiences and makes you think about how you can improve all aspects of your style and approach.
Each section has tips for different aspects of PM for consideration which summarises and bullet statements which makes for easy following and quick referencing. There are also a number of exercises throughout each step with tables and sections to write in key information - this forms a great way to actually engage with the book and encourages you to actually reflect on practices and score yourself on various aspects.
As this is a workbook, it benefits all those in the project management delivery domain - it is great for the less experienced in that it is well structured and runs through a great deal of process and can be used as a training manual for constructive support. It is equally useful for the well seasoned project manager who is happy to review their practices and keen to ensure they have not fallen into bad habits. I would also recommend the use of this book for group sessions, gathering groups of PMs to work through each section in weekly workshops.
Susanne has clearly dealt with a great number of challenges in her career, whether they be personally or through coaching others. Her ability to grasp the various aspects and structure the book in a way which is not daunting but is interrogating strikes a very pleasing balance. I have read a number of coaching books and not found any to be as engaging or easy to use, the reason for this is a less formal but professional approach - this is the sign of an excellent coach who believes in what they do and will happily share their insights.
This review is published in APM Project Magazine Oct 2013 and additionally on The CV Righter's blog.
on 9 February 2015
“The Project Management Coaching Workbook – Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential” is a true masterpiece. Any new PM should be able to use this to coach themselves by following the steps Susanne has laid out here. It is very rare that a book can inspire so much and lead someone to become an excellent PM. It is almost as if Susanne is in the book and coaching in person. Also as a true coach, she encourages the reader to take ownership, identify the gaps and address it themselves. Her frankness and practical approach is truly amazing. I recommend this book to any one in PM Community (new or even experienced) who want to be successful as a Project Manager!
on 28 January 2015
I picked up this book when I was studying for PRINCE2 recently, and read it in parallel. It proved an excellent counterpoint, as the style is lively and invigorating. Even though I have some years experience in projects, it's full of very good hints and tips that I had not encountered before. But most of all, it is strangely up-lifting: although she covers the many important functional aspects, the author has focused on what it is to be a project manager, the stresses & anxieties and the personal challenges we all face. Her message is loud and clear: believe in yourself, persevere and you will succeed. Excellent and highly recommended.
on 3 December 2012
WARNING: This is a workbook. Do not read it if you want to read just another book on project management, project leadership, and project success. If, however, you are sincerely interested in learning what it takes to develop and improve your project management and leadership skills and you are eager to learn why and how these are crucial ingredients for project and personal success, get a copy of this book and start working with it today. Note that I wrote working with this book. For it would be a shame if you were just reading this book like any other, then put it on a bookshelf and forget about it.
So, what is this book about? The back cover states "Starting with an insightful self-assessment, The Project Management Coaching Workbook: Six Steps to Unleashing Your Potential offers tools, questions, reviews, guiding practices, and exercises that will help you build your roadmap to project management and leadership success." True. What makes this book special is that it starts out with an insightful definition of project management and project leadership. Susanne explains "As a manager, you are typically involved in scheduling work, delegating tasks, coordinating effort and resources, monitoring and guiding progress, building teams, and appealing to rational thinking. As a leader, however, your role is to inspire people, explain goals, share the vision, provide focus, be a role model, monitor morale, create a positive team feeling, and unleash potential." (p.8-9) The book is about both: project management and project leadership. It is this stretch that makes the workbook special. There are a lot of books about project management and probably even more on leadership. Unfortunately, there are only a very few that explain why and how management and leadership has to be dealt with together. Maybe it is because it can be quite a stretch. This is certainly true. Just because you are a good manager does not make you a good leader. On the other side, if you are a good project manager it is probably because you also embrace qualities and skills of project leadership. Effective project management therefore is the combination of strong task management and people management and leadership.
The book is into 6 major parts, each corresponding to a 6-step assessment and coaching model. They are:
Step 1: What do you want to achieve? Create your vision and mission statement
Step 2: Self-assessment: Create a benchmark of your current skill set
Step 3: 360 feedback: Seek feedback from managers, peers, and customers
Step 4: Action: Create an action plan and move forward
Step 5: Guiding practices: Learn more about project management and leadership techniques
Step 6: Progress review: Examine your progress and determine next steps
Each of the chapters include an explanation of the core concepts and then quickly walks the reader through a self-assessment and guiding questions and principles which show the reader how to apply the principles in a daily project setting. It is not dry theory, it is very pragmatic and it encourages you to become active. After all, it is a workbook.
Target audience: Whether you are a novice project manager or have been in the profession for years, you will get a lot out of this book. Hence, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in project management, project leadership and project success. It is also a book for a team, a department, a division or even a whole company that wants to take team and project performance to the next level. Indeed working with this book in a team will reveal more about good management and leadership on the individual and group level than working with the book by yourself.
Shortcomings: ... none really. Personally, I would have liked a bibliography but that's pretty much it.
In a nutshell: 4 ½ stars out of 5. A must-read for those who want to take project management and leadership to the next level.
on 14 August 2013
This book is a management masterpiece. The topics are very well structured. The concepts are detailed in such a way that it's very simple to understand and easy to apply. For every concept/topic, the book has a very good 'practical/exercise' section. It's a very interesting book. There are a lot of 'wow' moments in the book.
This book will definitely lifts the confidence. It's not just a book, it's an experience.
on 25 May 2014
I can recommend this book to any project manager looking for some self-development and improvement via coaching and self-reflection.
The book gives you a valid and structured approach to look at yourself and your skills, collect and evaluate feedback and finally create an action and review plan to improve directly into the direction you want to, helping you to reach your bigger goal as a PM.
The chapter about project management methodology, techniques, processes and tools is rather short. But this is also not the focus of the book. You should see the book as a mirror, showing you the truth about where you are and guiding you on your way to where you want to be. If the outcome is, that you need industry specific training and more training on project management tools, than it is your turn to get the information, training and certification.
Clearly one of the best books I've read the last 3 years.