Authors Paul Dinsmore and Terry Cooke-Davies hail from opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean and consequently bring together in their book, The Right Projects Done Right!, an interesting meld of the viewpoints of Europeans and North Americans. Paul Dinsmore, as members of the Project Management Institute ("PMI") will know, is a prolific writer for PMI's publications and is also author or editor of numerous books. Not surprisingly, therefore, he espouses the PMI view of project management. However, his interest goes well beyond that of managing a single project and into the corporate world of coping with people managing multiple projects.
Terry Cooke-Davies, on the other hand, is obviously influenced by the perspective of his own project management community, the Association for Project Management (UK), a view that is quite distinct from that of PMI. More importantly, Terry has conducted valuable in-depth research based on observations of a number of major project management companies around the world. These are organizations that are active in a broad range of project management application areas but tend towards the European viewpoint.
Both authors are consultants in the project management field and are Fellows of their respective associations. Both bring tantalizing snippets of advice or recommendations from their respective international consultancy experiences.
Since Paul's home base is in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Terry's is in Folkestone, England, it is not surprising to learn that the preparation of this book required "sundry global encounters and lengthy transatlantic e-mail correspondence". And further that "Our communications invariably converged on the common theme of conducting a multitude of projects simultaneously across an organization ... The primary area of convergence in our exchanges, however, always reverted to enterprise-wide project management, the application of project principles to companies made up of multiple projects."
It is evident from the text that this collaboration has led to some difficulty in the use of concepts and terminology that differ from one side of the world to the other. So the book speaks of managing multiple projects and multi-project management, whereas we think that "project portfolio management" is a more descriptive term of what the book is really all about. In essence, it provides the combined authors' views:
"Relating to each of the following questions:
- Whether the right portfolio of projects has been chosen to ensure that company strategy is implemented successfully
- Whether the right projects with the right scope are chosen as candidates for the portfolio, and
- Whether the projects are managed well."
Or, as the authors suggest, the complete picture of "enterprise-wide" project management is covered "from business strategy to portfolio management to project implementation and finally to benefits management." This last statement alone gives rise to some terminology issues, but we'll come back to that later.
But let us not be misled by the book's title, The Right Projects Done Right! This is not a prescriptive book on how to correctly carry out the right selection of projects, so those looking for step-by-step instructions all the way will be disappointed. Rather, it is a philosophical discussion from an academic view point of what others presently do that have delivered apparently successful results. As such, it will be enjoyed by those readers who take a much broader view and wish to apprise themselves of the latest in project management thinking and better corporate practice.
1. Dinsmore, P. C., & Terence J. Cooke-Davies, The Right Projects Done Right!, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA, 2006, (303 pages) p xiii
2. Ibid, p xiv
4. Ibid, p xv