Book 2 - Improving Your Project Management Skills, Second Edition by Larry Richman, 2012
General Observations and Recommendations
The contents of the book are delivered in a plain, simple and straightforward way. This has no doubt been derived from the thirty years of the Larry Richman's own experiences in practicing project management, and in teaching and receiving feed back. As may be inferred from the Table of Contents, the author covers all of the core attributes of project management, and the relevant basic tools associated with each.
There is, however, one marked absence and that is a discussion of the management of quality. We could only find only three minor references. The first is in a simple listing of the nine knowledge areas of PMI's PMBOK Guide. The second, under Organizational Plan, is a reference to responsibility for quality by performers of the work, as a part of an organizational breakdown structure. The third is a reference, under Assessing and Prioritizing Risk, suggesting that: "late delivery of a key component could cause schedule delays, cost overruns, and a lower-quality product."
In our view, this is a serious omission considering that the Quality Grade of the project's outcome or product is a variable independent of the project's scope. More importantly, the quality grade and the assurance of quality to that standard, has a significant impact on the time and cost of the project. It is one of the drivers of the management of the project as a whole.
However, we were particularly gratified to see that the author recognizes the importance of the project manager understanding the Business Case as the reasons for undertaking the project in the first place. He states that the following need to be understood: The Problem or Opportunity; The Solution and Vision; The Expected Benefits; and the Estimated Costs. How many project managers really understand that simple advice?
Larry goes on to explain that projects should be seen as investments that may be driven by different expectations such as Survival, Profitability, Growth and so on. In any case, "the key is that every project must be aligned with something bigger than itself. Each project should be linked to some enterprise goal, objective or strategy."
The book offers light and easy-to-follow reading and is illustrated by Tables and Graphics where appropriate. In our opinion, the book is well written and provides sound, reliable, and realistic advice at an introductory level.
R. Max Wideman
20. Ibid, p13
21. Ibid, pp111-112
22. Ibid, p166
23. Ibid, p18
24. Ibid, pp19-20s