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 August 2013.

Book 1 - Enterprise Project Governance
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations
Book 2 - Improving Your Project Management Skills
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations
Book 3 - Project Sustainability
Introduction | Table of Contents | General Observations and Recommendations

Book 1 - Enterprise Project Governance: A Guide to the Successful Management of Projects Across the Organization by Paul C. Dinsmore & Luiz Rocha, 2012

General Observations and Recommendations

This book is well written in a clear convincing style. It includes graphics, charts and tables by way of clarification. Lists of bulleted comments emphasize major points and for those who wish to implement the book's recommendations, these also make valuable reference lists.

A significant part of the book's text is taken up with a large number of short case examples, both successful and unsuccessful, to illustrate the authors' message. We haven't counted them but there are several in most chapters. Many of these alone make fascinating reading for their otherwise unheralded insights. Apple's Revival is one such case that is compared to Nokia's difficulty in organizing to compete in the iPhone market.[8] This case ends with Lessons Learned from Apple and Nokia that is summarized in six bullets, one of which claims:[9]

"The Quality of Information. Regardless of the quality and sophistication of the portfolio selection and decision tools, information quality is essential for making accurate decisions."

In another example, A Saga of Atom Smashers, the authors compare the outcomes of the U.S. Department of Energy' multibillion-dollar Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) project and the European Organization for Nuclear Research's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. This too makes fascinating reading because the authors suggest that:[10]

"The SSC project in Texas was flawed from the beginning due to the lack of appropriate governance structure and insufficient evaluation of risks."

By comparison, the international LHC organization proclaimed that:

"The project organization should be designed so that all participants consider themselves integral parts of the common project, as having a strong stake in its success and appropriate influence on its decision-making processes."[11] Given that about 1000 scientists and engineers from 100 countries participated, that alone must have been a significant challenge.

From this vivid contrast, the authors conclude that:[12]

"As a result, competitive-bidding contracting practices are not conducive to forming honest, open, transparent engagements among the stakeholders. Such flexible agreements, based on mutual trust, are contrary to the mind-set expressed as, 'you show me yours, and I'll show you mine - but you have to show me yours first.'"

There is one more case worthy of mention:[13]

"In June 2004, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) in the United Kingdom initiated the National Offender Management Information System project designed to track offenders in a single system covering offenders both during their prison stay and during probation."

The project did not go well. The UK's National Audit Office investigated the project and concluded (in part):[14]

"There was inadequate oversight by senior management. While the project board met at least once every two months, it did not actively monitor delivery of the project and was unaware of the full extent of delays or the implications of its decisions on project costs. It was three years after project initiation that senior officials discovered it was running two years late and that costs had more than doubled."

Sound familiar?

As a point of interest to us, the authors chose to describe the essence of project work as it relates to Enterprise Project Governance. This included a short paragraph titled: Views of Project Management from Professional Associations. In this paragraph, the authors observed:[15]

"The essence of project management was traditionally represented by a triangle, depicting the need to manage time, cost, and quality. These core areas have long since morphed into a square, depicting quadruple constraints, with the addition of scope management because scope is so tightly intertwined with the elements of the classic triangle. So time, cost, quality, and scope are the pillars for turning strategic projects into results." (Emphasis added.)[16]

We hope that "Professional Associations" will pay attention. We have been pointing this out for decades. Perhaps, at long last, progress is being made.

Clearly, Enterprise Project Governance is an emerging area of corporate management based on project management. In spite of this, and therefore we are treading in untested waters, this book appears to provide reliable, sound advice and makes eminent good sense based on the authors' convincing research material. For the same reason this book makes for easy reading.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Table of Contents  Table of Contents

8. Ibid, pp 40-43
9. Ibid, p40
10. Ibid, p168
11. Ibid, p169
12. Ibid, p172
13. Ibid, p146
14. Ibid, p147
15. Ibid, p103
16. A more thorough explanation of a project and its environment can be found on this page:
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