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Alpha Project Managers: What the Top 2% Know That Everyone Else Does Not: What the Top 2 Per Cent Know That Everyone Else Does Not Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The book, based on a survey of 5,000 project managers, states in its findings:
'Good communication is comprised of more than how the message is delivered. The information itself, the method used, and the timing with which it is delivered all contributes to effective communication.'
Communication on a project is a two way process. You are communicating out and you are receiving communication back at you and the usual complexities of filters and noise typically confuse the process of giving and receiving clear, accurate and understandable information.
Communication is also sequential, communicated through chains of people, which will add that 'Chinese whispers' effect - either intentional or accidental.
Add to that the sheer volume of communication these days, email, phone calls (landline and mobile), written, presented, verbal and so on, then life can be very tough for project managers to learn what they need to learn and to share what they need to share.
I was taught a truth in my early project management days - reporting is not communicating! The fact that the critical facts and important truths are buried somewhere in a report that the right people may be in possession of does not, in any way, mean that they have received the message.
A recommended read to all project managers - learn to be better!
The lazy project manager: How to be twice as productive and still leave the office early
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This has to be one of the most under produced books I've ever seen. Crowe essentially self-published on his own Velociteach label. It shows. The graphics are third rate and the cover is pretty bad.
But no matter. The information inside is fascinating. Crowe surveyed over 3,000 project managers and their co-workers/supervisors in order to identify the "top 2%" of project managers ("alpha project managers"). He tried to identify PMs who were consistently rated as excellent by the people they worked with and their customers. Once he found them, he zeroed in on their work habits and PM techniques.
Some of the interesting findings:
# Alphas respond to fewer emails/day and spend less time in meetings than non-alphas, yet people rated them as being more responsive than non-alphas.
# Alphas establish explicit communication expectations, and adhere to them stringently.
# Alphas sent much shorter communications than their non-alpha peers.
# Alphas spent twice as much time in the planning phase of their projects than did non-alphas.
# Alphas used informal networks to get things done much more often than non-alphas (who stuck to formal channels).
# Alphas were much more aware or how their bosses were being measured (ROI, etc.) than non-alphas.
Each of these points (and others) are supported with some useful anecdotes from the PMs themselves. Crowe does a good job trying to help PMs understand these habits and apply them to their own work. This is a text which deserves wider recognition and higher quality production in a second edition.
The book was a short but very concise read packed with statistical findings from the research that was performed. The gaps in perceptions between what the Project Manager believed and what the stakeholders believed was very eye opening. I highly recommend this book to any Project Manager interested in surviving and thriving in their career.
- Attitude and believe
- Focus and Prioritization
- Relationships and Conflict
- Issue Management
For every area you get the insights about the questions and answers from the Alpha and the non-Alpha ones. Based on these answers the study went back to the project managers and the stakeholders to find answers on the why by additional questionnaires and interviews. Every area chapter ends with an overview what the Alphas know. E.g. Communication: the greatest disconnect between the two groups seemed to be that Alphas were generally aware of how their message was being received by stakeholders. Alphas took the time to understand stakeholder needs in advance, and how they tailored communication to meet those needs. The Alpha group made reliable and predictable communications a priority, even going so far as using this as a tool to manage stakeholders. They set the gold standard by making their information not only very clear and highly concise, but also relevant to their audience.
If you, as a project manager, want to improve your performance and you know your own strengths and weaknesses, this book can be of great help to you to take a next step.
* The study includes 860 participants and only 18 are considerred Alphas! My guess is that if they broadened the study to have 5% or 10% alphas, the differences would be even more miniscule than they already are in the book.
* There are so many comparisons that are simply weak, like the amount hours Alphas and non-Alphas seek training. Can you imagine the difference betwen 38 hours for non-alphas versus 45 hours for alphas. It is just utter non-sense to even include this as one of the key differences. The author was clearly trying to fill some extra pages of the book here. This issue alone causes pause about the credibility of the study and the author's understanding of the topic.
* Are the top 2% more confident and optimistic and happier about their jobs? We don't need to buy a book to know this, as these are rhetorical questions. It is almost sad that the author attempts to give validity to his study by presenting percentages and comparative data on such things
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