The views expressed in these introductory reviews are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the books under review are the copyright property of the respective authors.
Published here June 2013

Introduction to the Books
Book  1  - An Introduction to Project Management
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations
Book 2 - The Six Sigma Handbook
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations
Book 3 - Facilitating Project Performance Improvement
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations

Book 1 - An Introduction to Project Management, 4th Edition, by Kathy Schwalbe, 2012

General Observations and Recommendations

This book is a comprehensive and thorough treatise on its subject. It is well written with a good balance between text, tables, charts and illustrations. It is easy to read, though the amount of relatively in-depth content provided may seem overwhelming at times. But remember that the book is intended as a reference companion for an academic course. However, the load is brightened from time to time by the introduction of humorous sketches or comic strips.

The book contains many interesting insights. For example, on "Project Portfolio Selection":

"Projects and programs have existed for a long time, as has some form of project portfolio management. There is no simple process for deciding how to create project portfolios, but the goal of project portfolio management is clear: to help maximize business value to ensure enterprise success. You can measure business value in several ways, such as in market share, profit margins, growth rates, share prices, and customer or employee satisfaction ratings.

Many factors are involved in ensuring enterprise success. Organizations cannot only pursue projects that have a special financial value. They must also consider resource availability (including people, equipment, and cash); risks that could affect success; and other concerns, such as potential mergers, public relations, balancing investments, and other factors that affect enterprise success."[4]

Another example:

"Some organizations spend a great deal of time and money on training efforts for general project management skills, but after training, a project manager might still not know how to tailor their project management skills to the organization's particular needs. Because of this problem, some organizations develop their own internal project methodologies. The PMBOK® Guide is a standard that describes best practices for what should be done to manage a project. A methodology describes how things should be done"[5]

In an early section, Kathy suggests that project managers and their teams must develop their knowledge and skills in the following areas:[6]

  • All nine project management (PMBOK) knowledge areas
  • The application area (domain, industry, market, etc.)
  • The project environment (politics, culture, change management, etc.)
  • General management (financial management, strategic planning, etc.)
  • Human relations (leadership, motivation, negotiations, etc.)

If you can master all of that, you should be a CEO in no time!

In our opinion, this book provides sound practical advice, and excellent content for the thorough study of its subject.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Table of Contents  Table of Contents

4. Schwalbe, p59
5. Ibid, p79
6. Ibid, p18
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