The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the author.
Published here January 2020

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary

What We Liked

What we liked is that author "Kik" Piney has studied and established a clear relationship, and scope delimited, relationship between the three project management sub-divisions of single project management,[7] program management and project portfolio management. He has done this in a way that is especially suited to very large projects, not only in the private sector, but especially in the public sector, and whether they be infrastructure or information technology projects.

Thus, Kik has developed a clear and valuable exposition of these three related areas of project management fields of study, namely project management, program management, and project portfolio management. As he explains in his Preface:

"For many years now, I have been working on ideas and concepts of what I would like to see as 'Integrated Project Management' (IPM). [In my view] IPM is characterized by a consistent model that combines and aligns the scope and methodology of each of projects, programs and portfolios."

He goes on to say that:

"I have done my best not to reproduce ideas that are described elsewhere in the literature. My aim has been to build up an original set of concepts that integrate projects, programs and portfolios in such a way as to provide a new, coherent framework of concepts and tools for business management."

Kik then explains the structure of his book. The following brief observations attempt to capture that structure:

  • A Consistent and Integrated Model — The differing points of view of each of projects, programs and portfolios and the necessary different mindsets required for each.[8]
  • Typical Problem and Analysis — The description of a typical problem to be solved and some of the original analysis tools for improving the chance of program success.[9]
  • Integrating the Frameworks — A clear modeling of how these members of the project family work together. Given all of the mutual dependencies between the three domains, a unique, consistent, and complete life cycle and a set of concepts are required and has been developed.[10]
  • An Honest Cost and Benefit Model for Programs — This model is built up over three chapters[11] in such a way that the costs of the initiatives can (and should) be estimated independently of the predicted value of the results. This makes the model impervious to any political pressure aimed at forcing the numbers to support a potentially invalid proposal.
  • Intermediate Goals — The model is based on decomposing the overall objectives into intermediate goals successively until this logic chain leads to the definition of the required solution.
  • Sharing of Benefits — The model allows enabling initiatives to be justified — that is, component projects or programs that, on their own, cannot be validated directly because the value of their deliverables is spread across a number of areas.
  • Calculating the Model — The basis for a program is composed of two sets of numbers and a solution framework. The first set of numbers incorporates the benefit expected from the program. The second set specifies the cost of achieving these benefits.[12]
  • Dis-benefits of Change — Every change, however beneficial, can have side effects that negatively affect the final outcome. This new model allows these negative effects to be included in the complete analysis and taken into account in the evaluation of the business case.[13]
  • Concept of Essential Links — The underlying synergy of the program model shows how several nodes can contribute jointly to the values of a successor node, but where the absence of one or more of these "essential" nodes would inhibit all of the other contributions to this node.

Chapter 7 provides a useful case study that applies the model and its concepts described in the previous chapters. Subsequent chapters each deal with the impacts on the standard processes encompassed in traditional project management literature. That is: Scheduling, Risk Management, Capacity Planning, Procurement, Progress Tracking, Stakeholder Management, and Communications. The two largest chapters deal with Total Risk and Issue Management[14], and Implementation Tracking — Earned Benefit.[15]

In my view, the whole book is written in a clear and unambiguous in-depth and realistic style, complete with detailed tables, charts, and illustrations as mentioned earlier. The concepts in total may in fact be difficult to implement in practice because of the ever presence of diverse "political" interests and consequent "interference". Nevertheless, these ideas should be tested by making them a part of the mandate of the types of projects implied.

Book Structure  Book Structure

7. I.e., in the sense of managing a project only.
8. Chapter 1.
9. Chapter 2.
10. Chapter 3.
11. Chapters 4,5, and 6.
12. Chapter 5.
13. Chapter 6.
14. Chapter 9.
15. Chapter12.
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