Published here November, 2006. 

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked | The Books Premise
Other Things We Liked | Research-Based Data | Case Studies | Downside | Summary

What We Liked

The Scope of the Book

First and foremost, we liked the book's title: The Right Projects Done Right! Most book titles seem to have a main heading and then a sub title to explain the main title. But this title is simple, to the point, and comprehensive.

Second, we liked the book's comprehensive scope in that:

"[The book] focuses on the growing trend towards broadening the scope of traditional project management. That broadened scope takes place in two different directions. The first expansion is stretching out the span of the traditional life cycle. A classic view would say that project management starts when the project is authorized and funds are provided and that it ends once the tasks outlined are completed and it's turned over to whoever is responsible for the next ongoing stage, such as operations. The broadened view extends the project life cycle both 'upstream' into 'mission and vision' and 'downstream' into 'total asset life cycle management.' This is a growing worldview ..."[5]

Well, it may be a "growing world view" but we doubt it is yet "generally accepted". We also doubt that this span of activity will ever become the expanded domain of managing a project. This is for the simple reason that the management activities and necessary styles are quite different from those of corporate strategizing on the one hand and on-going business operations on the other. Moreover, project managers in particular are appointed only for the period of the project and their mandate is to deliver and they are reassigned once the product is properly transferred. To do otherwise would be a waste of their talent.

Nevertheless, essential project selection decisions are made "upstream" of the project. Only when benefits are actually harvested "downstream" of the project, is it possible for management to determine whether or not the project did what it was supposed to do and hence whether or not it was successful. As the book makes clear, the former is the prerogative of senior management and their project sponsors. In North America we call this Project Portfolio Management. (Not just "portfolio management", that refers to financial investments and is not the same thing.) The latter, the downstream harvesting of the project's benefits, is the responsibility of the operations or "line management" who take the project's deliverables into their care, custody and control. An emerging name for this area of responsibility seems to be "Project Benefits Management".

For the record, this is only the second book that we've seen to date that encompasses and examines in some depth this complete project business spectrum.[6]

Book Structure  Book Structure

5. Ibid, p1-2
6. The first book we've seen to cover this entire product life cycle is Project Portfolio Management: A Practical Guide to Selecting Projects, Managing Portfolios, and Maximizing Benefits by Harvey A. Levine, also by Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, 2005 (538 pages)
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