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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, sensible and full of wisdom .....
The many testimonials quoted in the front of the book sum it up.
I am a Project Manager who is familiar with the challenges of building temporary teams. This book deals with it all - from building team spirit and motivation, to dealing with difficult team members and disputes. The authors show how to build up the trust and respect a team leader needs to head up...
Published on 20 July 2002 by Jon Jay

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you have read any of the other David Maister books, do not bother
There are two elements to assessing this book - as someone who has not read any previous work of the author, and from the perspective of someone hoping that the book will build upon, rather than just paraphrase what the author has previously published.

I will start with the positive version first - for someone completely new to Daivd Maister's books. What you...
Published on 26 Nov 2010 by AK


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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, sensible and full of wisdom ....., 20 July 2002
By 
Jon Jay "JonAJay" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The many testimonials quoted in the front of the book sum it up.
I am a Project Manager who is familiar with the challenges of building temporary teams. This book deals with it all - from building team spirit and motivation, to dealing with difficult team members and disputes. The authors show how to build up the trust and respect a team leader needs to head up people he has no real authority over. But the advice here is good not just for PMs but also for Supervisors, Team Leaders and other Middle Managers.
It's obvious that McKenna and Maister have done this in practice, not just in theory. Their style is sensible and mature. Where some of their techniques may not be completely appropriate for a British workforce, at least their realism provokes consideration.
This book should be read by anyone who takes "man-management" seriously. I want people to enjoy working for me and to walk away from my Projects feeling enriched and fulfilled. This book may well help me achieve that.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some great material that I can share & use as a refresher, 22 Jan 2004
By 
Keith Appleyard "kapple999" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Gripe no. 1 : I hope its not going to become a common occurrence in business books, but there were 7 pages of 35 advance reviews (but 5 of them were only 2 lines which said little). Let me decide for myself if the book is any good – show me the product. Also, I work in IT, but there didn't seem to be a single reviewer with an IT background?
The book looks at the leader/manager/coach of a disparate group of professionals, assuming a mix of seniors & juniors.
I think the book isn't just for the leader/manager/coach – because in many such groups today, there can be rotation (time-based or task-based) where any of the group of professionals might be called upon to perform the leadership / coaching / mentoring role. So the book should be read by all members of the team. Also the leader is human – they might not be 'doing it right as per the book', and it could be useful for the others (they are all equals after all) to be informed to provide that guidance/correction.
The Sections are laid out well : getting ready; coaching the individual; coaching the team; building for the future.
It classes individuals into 4 styles : amiable, analytical, driver, expressive (I tend more towards the expressive), and how to work with each.
I also like the way it addressed underperforming members, how to correct the problem rather than try to rationalise it out of existence.
Because professionals jealously guard their autonomy, reserving the right to work as they see fit, professional groups have a greater-than-average tendency to become ill-disciplined – and thus a whole chapter is dedicate to how to run a meeting of such individuals.
I work in such a group, where there are 20 of us, probably 50:50 seniors & juniors (though we don't refer to ourselves in that way).
Gripe no. 2 : However, one thing missing explicitly from the book is if there are any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats from a geographically disparate or culturally diverse group?
My group is spread across 2 continents, 5 different timezones, with only 2 hours in the day when our extended workday (8am-6pm) coincides. We comprise at least 5 different nationalities & religions, and it seems many more political viewpoints. But time and time again, this material seemed to assume that this was a relatively homogeneous group, everyone was coming together physically in the same room, or at least, didn't even consider that people might be in the same geographical locations but be on the phone, and thus unable to see each others body language. My group only get together in the same room twice a year. We've evolved techniques over the 7 years we've been together to accommodate this, but I would have appreciated it more if this modern reality had been addressed?
I also liked the discussion on the maximum size of the group, and one correspondents rule of thumb that the group is too big if he can't tell you the name of everyone's spouse/significant other & what that person does for a living (assuming its OK culturally to ask for that information – in some cultures it's a no-no).
There's an excellent wrap-up where the dozens of checklists (don't let the apparent volume put you off – it's not that bad) are summarised and classified, and you are reminded in which chapters they are to be found.
Overall I think my group is doing quite well 80% of what is in the book, with maybe 10% that we wouldn't agree with, leaving us 10% that we could improve upon. I'm going to recommend it to everyone else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed with Knowledge!, 15 Oct 2003
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This book is essentially a collection of practical checklists interspersed with quotations and anecdotes. It certainly meets its objective of collecting everything you need to know about managing a professional service firm’s practice group. Patrick McKenna and David H. Maister present the nuts and bolts in a straightforward format. If you feel like you could use some help to do a better job of leading your group of highly trained individuals, if you’ve just been promoted to the ranks of management and want some guidance or, worse, if you feel like you are herding cats — in Maister’s phrase — instead of leading a committed team of professional people, we are pleased to recommend this complete toolbox to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars If you have read any of the other David Maister books, do not bother, 26 Nov 2010
By 
AK (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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There are two elements to assessing this book - as someone who has not read any previous work of the author, and from the perspective of someone hoping that the book will build upon, rather than just paraphrase what the author has previously published.

I will start with the positive version first - for someone completely new to Daivd Maister's books. What you will get is a fairly general and reasonably comprehensive collection of checklists, with some added detail and some anecdotes peppered in, which should in principle be a helpful guide to managing and / or coaching people, over whom you do not have direct seniority. It applies to leading projects, working in professional service firms or any type of company that uses a matrix structure. If The One Minute Manager - The One Minute Manager is your thing, you are likely to love the style. It will definitely not require you to work at decyphering any elements, uses massive amount of signposting and repetition and is generally written for allowing readers to dive in anywhere (it doesn ot require sequential reading). In this context I can imagine giving the book four stars, as a useful primer for people who never managed anyone before.

If, however you read works by Maister before, this book will probably come as a slight to heavy disappointment. In Managing the Professional Service Firm the author introduces a very apt metaphor - that of a person's personal balance sheet - if you do not continuously invest in your capabilities, building on them and adding new repertoire to what you do, you are likely to go down the short term route of cashing out on your current skills, which lose their relevance or uniqueness with time. What was once leading edge or novel, becomes standard, and then eventually starts lagging behind. Reading this book I have the impression that the author himself definitely fell into the trap he warned against. Large sections are simply excerpts (sometimes not even paraphrased) of his previous books. Possibly this is a David Maister book for people who really have no time to read books - it is certainly very checklist oriented and requires minimal effort. If the repetition was the books only problem I would still find it fair to give the book four stars, with a disclaimer for readers, perhaps.

Unfortunately, I also found the book to lack substance all too often. It is full of blanket statements, and from Chapter 5 onwards suffers from some pretty severe caricaturisation of character types - to the extent that they stop being useful due to their shallowness. I found some of the anecdotes fairly interesting reading but equally found it difficult to put much trust in most of them. After about 8 years of working in a professional service environment much of the language used and many examples given seem tinged with double speak and corporate PR more than reality. People who used to work for the same companies so praised in this book often drew a very different picture of what was reality. I would certainly recommend The Management Myth: Why the Experts Keep Getting it Wrong as a useful counterpoint to, or source of a more balanced picture than the rosy one presented here.

To summarize, if you manage in the one minute way, the style of this book will likely appeal. If, however, you want Maister at his more substantial self (and want to learn about more or less the same topic), go for Managing the Professional Service Firm - it is much better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, 25 Oct 2009
This book was excellent as a primer for managing a group of professionals. It had excellent case histories which helped to illustrate the complexities. I am pleased as it lived up to its title.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Packed With Knowledge!, 8 Jun 2004
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This book is essentially a collection of practical checklists interspersed with quotations and anecdotes. It certainly meets its objective of collecting everything you need to know about managing a professional service firm's practice group. Patrick McKenna and David H. Maister present the nuts and bolts in a straightforward format. If you feel like you could use some help to do a better job of leading your group of highly trained individuals, if you've just been promoted to the ranks of management and want some guidance or, worse, if you feel like you are herding cats - in Maister's phrase - instead of leading a committed team of professional people, we are pleased to recommend this complete toolbox to you.
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