The views expressed in these introductory reviews are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of these two books under review are the copyright property of
Dennis Lock © 2013.
Published here November 2013 (Book 1) and December 2013 (Book 2)

Introduction to the Books
Book 1 - Project Management, Tenth Edition
Introduction | Table of Contents
General Observations: Overview and Techniques | Managing People and Exercising Control
CD-ROM Contents

Book 2 - Naked Project Management, The Bare Facts
Introduction | Table of Contents
General Observations and Recommendations | Quibbles

Naked Project Management, The Bare Facts
by Dennis Lock, 2013

General Observations and Recommendations

This book is well written in a clear style and covers the essential practical activities involved in successfully conducting a small to medium sized construction type project. The descriptions of the various essential activities and responsibilities of the project manager are well supported with graphical illustrations. In general, we think that the book provides sound practical project management advice at an introductory level. The text is light and easy reading and the reader is drawn along in following the progress of the illustrative "Swings and Roundabouts Project" case study.

The Swings and Roundabouts Project

The Swings and Roundabouts Project is a small project that is first scoped out in Chapter 1 and is shown in Figure 1. It is followed through in each of the subsequent chapters. As mentioned earlier, it is based on the layout of an actual playground in the author's home city, but what we don't know is whether the actual project was brought about as successfully as the case study will prove to be!

Here are the successive steps of the case study.

In Chapter 2:

Work Breakdown and Cost Estimate for the Swings and Roundabout Project

In Chapter 3:

Organization of the Swings and Roundabouts Project

In Chapter 4:

Planning the Swings and Roundabouts Project

In Chapter 5:

Contracts and Purchases for the Swings and Roundabouts Project

In Chapter 6:

Controlling the Swings and Roundabouts Project

Chapter 7 extols the virtues of "Task Forces for Special Projects" but questions whether or not the Swings and Roundabouts Project is in fact just a task force. The answer is maybe, depending ...

In Chapter 8 we learn the results of the Swings and Roundabouts Project at a Final Project Meeting of the Swings and Roundabouts Project Team.

Here is a part of the record of that final wrap up meeting.[3]

"Theresa [Green] began by thanking everyone who had helped to make the project a success. She then asked some of the people, in turn, about their personal experience of the project and the way in which it had been managed. One universal answer that emerged was that everyone at the site in the park had been impressed at the regularity with which everything seemed to happen. Unlike previous ventures, there were no panic days and all the materials and services appeared at the right time. Theresa explained that the critical path network had much to do with that.

Penny Wise remarked that it was good to see a project that had finished almost exactly on budget ... Theresa explained that working to a sensible schedule, with everyone clear about what they had to do, coupled with controlled purchasing, was the reason for that success. Ize Wong commented that having such a detailed work breakdown structure (WBS) had helped him to make the original cost estimates, and had also enabled him to record actual costs as they arose and compare them with the estimates.

Figure 1: A site plan of the proposed playground
Figure 1: A site plan of the proposed playground

Chief executive Richard Croesus now spoke up. He congratulated the team and said that their project success would create a good impression with the public, and with users of the new playground ... As everyone dispersed, Richard took Theresa aside and said he would like her to train people from other council departments and show how they might improve the management of their projects. He asked the beaming Theresa if there was anything she needed to help in future projects. 'Well' she replied, 'we would need some more advanced software.

Microsoft Project is fine for small projects, but I would like to do things like incorporating the work breakdown codes in all project task identifiers, and have a timesheet facility for recording costs.' ... Richard was somewhat taken aback, but asked Theresa to submit a proposal and cost estimate to him. Theresa suggested Primavera or Deltek's Open Plan, as two of the many competent software packages that might be considered ... She thought the initial cost would be in the region of 5,000 to 10,000 ..."

The resounding success of the project brought tears to our eyes. But Theresa's estimate for the suggested software did not mention the need for a trained and project savvy technician to operate the suggested sophisticated software. This would undoubtedly increase the departmental cost considerably!

Table of Contents  Table of Contents

3. Lock, Dennis, Naked Project Management - The Bare Facts, Gower Publishing Limited, Surrey England, 2013, pp103-105.
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