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on 17 November 2010
This book is part of the Microsoft Executive Leadership Series which consists of a number of publications that have been released over the last few years. It sets out as its aims to tie in the theory and the technology, primarily though not exclusively for an executive audience.

This implies that there is a link, direct or otherwise in the development or adoption of project and portfolio management with technology, something I will come back to later.

Being aimed at an executive audience it is probably not directly targeting the majority of PPSO SIG members. However for any of us who have a portfolio or even a programme office role the content should be of relevance.

While the author does provide some useful inputs and identifies some valuable key points throughout the book it fails in a number of significant ways.

The overall structure set out for the book is to look at the benefits of Project Portfolio Management, the strategic imperative and in later chapters to look at implementation and to develop some areas in more detail with the final chapter looking at future trends in project and portfolio management.

There are Case Studies included in most chapters though these are presented as rather abstract examples and are not fully exploited in supporting the chapter's content. One useful inclusion at the end of each chapter is that of Key Questions which in many cases provide a useful challenge to the reader in their organisation.

While the structure set out in the chapter headings appears rational, the content in each either does not support this or meet the expectations set by it. In Chapter 5 - Ten Things to Do, the author recognises "Everything stems from the creation of business goals". Unfortunately the book starts by looking in detail at ways and key points for capturing new ideas (for projects, innovations or improvements). While much text is spent aligning these to strategic business goals in Chapter 2 I couldn't help thinking that the cart had been put before the horse in establishing the relationship between the strategic objectives of an organisation and the investments and initiatives required to achieve them. There is little else in the book that gives the reader much further insight into the criteria and dimensions that can or should be used in the prioritisation and selection of a project portfolio. This is probably where any Strategic context for the book's content ends.

In Chapter 3 - The Importance of Planning one of the biggest failings of this book becomes very apparent. The author confuses, mixes and fails to distinguish between the disciplines of project management and that of portfolio management, thereby failing to address either effectively. This is something which continues throughout the remainder of book as reference is made to each in a seemingly random way.

From this point onwards much of the content is devoted to more detailed project management techniques covering planning, costing and reporting with very limited reference or context to portfolio management.

In the early chapters there are a few, rather tenuous mentions and links to the use of technology. In later chapters the emphasis changes, as though written by a different person or for a different purpose with significant focus on systems implementation. Had this been done effectively it could perhaps be forgiven in the series context in which the book is published but no input or guidance is provided for identifying the criteria that should be considered when selecting a suitable system, or of the appropriate organisational maturity for when this may be appropriate.

More disturbingly for me were the suggestions in the final chapter that organisational process will need to adapt to reflect changes in technology. Unfortunately the emphasis of the input is on changes and developments within technology and these being of primary importance, with little or no context as to how these may be effectively adopted within project or portfolio management. The importance of exploiting technology where it can provide and add value will undoubtedly continue and we should not exclude the use of it from project or portfolio management. What I suggest is important is that we do not see the technology as the end point, but as an enabler that we can use to be both more effective and efficient in both these disciplines.

There are some trivial sections on the use of certain technologies and in some parts the reader could be forgiven for thinking the author may have forgotten the title of the book as he has included sections unashamedly devoted to technologies without any or limited reference to their application in project or portfolio management.

In the later parts of the book the use of terminology of system, process and tools without any clear distinction as to how it is being used creates further confusion.

Although Chapter 11 - Towards Adaptive Project Management was not written by the author it is as equally out place in a book of this title as much of the authors own content and is little more than a description of some project planning tools & techniques and project management methodologies.

The book overall is very poorly written and structured and while reading it I was reminded of something a fellow PPSO SIG member had said to me some time ago - "If I had more time I would have written less". Applying this principle to this review would have significantly reduced the length of it, but probably rendered it unsuitable for publication!

The vast majority of the content is not appropriate or relevant to the title. While there could be the suspicion that it has just been poorly titled I am not convinced what it actually is - it is neither a good project management nor a good portfolio management book as there are too many significant omissions for either of these.

With the level of detail included on managing the delivery of projects it is certainly not appropriate for the executive level audience it claims to target. For this level of audience something more akin to the OGC Portfolio Management Pocket Guide may be far more relevant.

For project managers and PPSO SIG members I suggest there is no end of far more suitable and comprehensive alternatives for this to be considered of worth or additive.
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on 18 November 2009
Simon Moore's book is one of the most insightful books on the implementation of Strategic Management I have come across. He has focused one of the biggest problems facing business - More frequently than not businesses' operations are out of sync with their strategies. Linking them is clearly critical for a successful business and businesses like Apple and Google have proved this. But this is not just applicable to large companies - indeed Moore focuses on smaller businesses in his book. Moore not only demonstrates this in great detail with very practical examples, but he also provides key best practises that companies should adopt to ensure strategies get implemented through every part of the business. I operate a fruit distribuition company - and this book has helped me understand how we were not achieving our set out goals, and has provided me with the framework of tools to be able to tackle this. My business has already started to see benefits arising from the changes I have subsequently made.
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on 25 January 2010
I am involved in managing a number of different and varied projects on a day to day basis. I have attended various project management training courses, however, I found that this book gave me a new perspective on project management and cited a number of cases studies and examples on how I can improve the management of my projects. The book highlights the need to ensure that your key business process and operations are aligned to you organisations strategy. This doesn't always happen in practice and again the book focuses in on this topic and potential ways to achieve this in practice.

The book was easy to read and relate to, both for those specifically involved in contract management but also for those in general management who have to prioritise a number of tasks on a day to day basis.
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on 14 December 2009
I found this text to be well written, with decent up-to-date interviews padding out the content quite nicely. The theoretical basis of the book is solid and it also gave me several novel ideas that I suggested at meetings (and claimed as my own!) such as holding a 'pre-mortem' where people discuss ahead of a project starting what went wrong with it (!) and how that could have been avoided, which I thought was a clever way to brainstorm potential pitfalls. There are some fairly senior executives interviewed in the book, including from the UK - the guy is clearly well connected. Good diagrams too sprinkled throughout. I might well consider buying other books in the series...
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on 28 January 2010
Simon Moore's book is a well-written and comprehensive guide that I've found consistently useful in any business or organisational context. Some of Moore's conclusions are surprisingly thought-provoking, given this kind of technical material, and his main thesis is a powerful advocacy of the need for planning models in any money-making venture. The illustrations and diagrams also provide useful clarification for some of the more difficult concepts. Recommended.
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on 6 April 2010
I found this book to be a helpful primer on what project portfolio management really is. I liked the academic references, illustrations and case studies. A good text to have on your shelf at work. I found the focus on adoption useful, i.e. actually getting people to use a portfolio management tool/process/methodology. A few more case studies would have be helpful.
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on 16 February 2010
I think, it needs to be clearly stated what this book is and what not. It is part of an Executive Leadership Series and in the preface it also states that the targetted audience are executives. Therefore, everything is very high level, basically saying PPM is great, has benefits A, B, C, and just implement a fancy web-based technology that will collect and process all the required data on its own. You can lean back and look at the pretty dashboard it produces. Your decision making and efficiency will be improved vastly. Well, well, well.... yeah right. If you need to make a short PowerPoint for generally sparking interest in the topic in you organization, the book might be something for you. Or if you are an executive who needs to just grasp a broad idea of what PPM is, then as well.
But, if you need hands-on advice and tipps who to introduce CPM in your organization and make it work, then this is just the wrong book. The approximately 4 half page case studies in the book won't tell you details either.
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on 6 April 2010
Useful book for executives, the books I've previously seen in this in area get very deep into obscure technical jargon, where as this book really kept it at the senior management level and explained how to ultimately use PPM to get business results. Nice tie-ins to the technology aspect, and always easy to follow. If you're looking for a primer for your PMP exam, this is not that book, but if you want a broad introduction to the discipline, then this book is pretty good.
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on 7 April 2010
Valuable reference for understanding how to select the right projects. So much of the project management literature focuses on the execution component, and this book covers that too, but I valued the emphasis on project selection, because I've seen so many portfolio fail before they even start.
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on 6 April 2010
A cleverly constructed book, well written from front to back and acts as a very useful aid in navigating a complex subject, I found it easy to dip in to different chapters with specific reference to those on the portfolio selection process and relevant technology trends.
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