When the Project Management Institute ("PMI") was launched in 1969, there were few books if any dedicated to the subject of project management. Of course, there were many writings describing how some of the great structures of the past were built. Examples include such monuments as the great Giza Pyramid in Egypt (2580-2560 BCE) or Stonehenge in the UK (built in several stages from 2800-1800 BCE), the Great Wall of China (around 221-206 BCE). Since then there have been many great engineering undertakings like canals, railways, bridges, tunnels and dams around the world. But great undertakings have not necessarily been confined to infrastructure.
In the Six Secret Teachings, T'ai Kung describes the political advice he gave to two kings Wen and Wu of the Chou dynasty in the eleventh century BC, over 3000 years ago. These rulers used his work to defeat the Shang dynasty that had ruled for 600 years. He is the first famous general and beginner of strategic studies in China. His works were written to support revolutionary activity wherein limited resources were employed to overcome a vastly superior army.
Sound like project management? Of course, but in fact all these accounts describe the management of their respective technologies in specific undertakings. Today, there are multitudes of books on the market that describe the art and science of project management as applied in various environments whether structural, organizational, information technology, research and development and so on. So why do so many people continue to write books on the subject? We think that's because the subject of project management is large, complex and fascinating. Authors think that they have discovered something new or can express what is known more clearly. Every now and again they actually do.
The following reviews briefly describe our general impressions and recommendations on recent books that we have examined.
Books discussed in this Review
1. See Lessons from History: lessons-from-history.com/node/12 accessed 5/19/13
2. See the Six Secret Teachings: wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Secret_Strategic_Teachings accessed 5/19/13