Top positive review
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Readable, broad, helpful common-sense business advice
on 5 May 2011
As you might expect from the usually excellent "For Dummies" series, this is an excellent, common-sense led summary of the world of project management.
In general it feels more carefully aimed at people who might be becoming project managers for the first time, though there's some sound advice to be had here even for people who think they'll know it all already. Indeed, if my boss had followed some of this advice more carefully, we wouldn't currently be in the land of late night working and last-minute panics, and if there were some subtle way in which I could put a copy of "Project Management For Dummies" in his desk without getting myself fired, I would.
This book is packed with suggested structures and plans with which to approach planning 'a project' (as well as some much-needed clarification on what is, and isn't, 'a project'). It's explained in such a down-to-earth way, with a liberal but not excessive use of anecdotes, that at first it feels like an extended lesson in basic common sense, but gradually as more and more detail is unfolded, the value of the suggested processes becomes very clear. As the authors suggest, this might not be a book best read beginning-to-end in one sitting, rather it might be better as a reference book for when you get stuck with a particular difficulty at some stage of the project.
Apart from some anecdotes, there are very few practical examples, which is in some ways inevitable as almost anything could be considered to be 'a project'. However thanks to a little helping of business-speak and some generalisations, the scope of the book is broad enough to cover almost any workplace situation. It generally assumes office-based projects, but in today's world of the middle manager that's a fairly safe assumption.
Importantly, this is NOT a book for the PRINCE2 methodology, which is the framework for project management favoured quite widely in this country, including by many government organisations. The author Nick Graham has a vested interest in the alternative PRIME system- in fact he's the joint author of it, and throughout this book he rarely passes up the opportunity to criticise PRINCE2 in favour of his own offering. This could have turned into a terrible case of self-aggrandisement but it is just about forgivable as Nick Graham goes to some length to try to justify his reasoning in each case.
This book is likeable, sensible, practical advice for anyone who's got a project that, well, needs managing...