This is not an easy book for the novice to read. While it is packed with valuable and detailed information, it needs considerable and widely gained experience in the field to appreciate its entire content. However, many chapters can be read out of sequence if that is your particular interest such as the chapters on Scheduling and Cash Flow, Risk and Issue Management, Procurement and so on. Nevertheless, if you are interested in building up mental models of the various aspects of project management in toto this is the book for you.
Right off the bat, there is a serious problem in the project management industry that is, of the very name project management. Does that mean the discipline of managing a project, or does it mean the whole gamut of family members in the overall domain of project management? Why can we not find and agree on a separate name for these two extremes?
In searching the book, we find that author Kik Piney has used a number of terms to refer to the whole domain of project management, i.e. collectively: Project Portfolio Management, Program Management and (individual) project management. Kik's labels include "Integrated Project Management", "Project Management Domain" and "Practice of Project Management". These would be labeled successively: IPM, PMD, or PoPM. All of which would seem to be quite acceptable.
Personally, I would rather have the label "Project Management" kept to mean the whole range of disciplines contained within it. That leaves the individual project to be referenced differently. I would like to see that called "Single Project Management" (SPM).
This way, "SPM" stands for the whole string of techniques such as Scope, Quality, Time, Cost, Risk, and Procurement etc. at the foundational level of the Project Management (PM) hierarchy.
While we are on about PM hierarchies, since Kik started writing his book, a new discipline level has come to the fore. This is referred to as Project Management Governance (PMG), which is at the top of the tree. This is where the level of Vice President Project Management Governance (VP PMG) would sit along with co-members such as VP Finance, VP Human Resources, and so on, at the corporate board level. The VP PMG's responsibilities would include such things as project economy, profitability, and social, sustainability and professionalism standards. He or she would also be the final arbiter in the award of major performance contracts to ensure such contracts meet the social standards of the awarding organization.
Another area of interest is "Stakeholders". Stakeholder Management is a relatively new "Knowledge Area" of the Project Management Institute's PMBOK Guide, first introduced in its 5th edition, published in 2013. In the 6th edition published in 2017, PMI defines a Stakeholder as: "An individual, group, or organization that may affect, be affected by, or perceived itself to be affected by a decision, activity, or outcome of a project." In my view, it is a mistake to put all of these people into one bucket. That is because those that "may effect" and those who are "affected by" are clearly on opposite sides of the equation with entirely different attitudes, expectations and concerns, especially where cost is involved. They therefore require entirely different management approaches.
However, Kik recognizes three categories, namely:
- The Producers, those who are all associated with creating the project outcome,
- The Transformers, those who take the outcome and use it to create benefit, and
- The Receivers, those who receive the benefit.
Kik goes on to explain (in short) that:
- A Producer without power is unable to produce the deliverable.
- A Transformer without power will be unable to contribute to the outcome, and
- A Receiver without power is likely to disrupt the intended benefits anyway.
So, all three of these groups must be empowered in their own way to be effective. Kik then describes how each of these three stakeholder types can be analyzed and worked into his integrated system. Well and good, but I rather suspect that the problem is much bigger than it appears especially in the case of large complex projects.
16. Page 11.
17. A note from author Kik Piney who adds: "A few years ago, I asked myself the same question and came up with a hierarchy of project management categories: project deliverable management (just make something), project change management (create a change), project benefits management (the focus of the work is on creating beneficial change), and project strategy management (normally portfolio work to combine the beneficial changes to achieve strategic goals). I fear, however, that most people seem quite content with the current, vague situation."
18. "Governance" in this case implies the processes, systems and standards by which the organization marshals its Project Management operations.
19. PMBOK® Guide, p550.
20. Page 296.