The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of this book under review are the copyright property of author Dennis Lock.
Published here January 2016  

Introduction | Book Structure | Pearls of Wisdom - In General
Pearls of Wisdom - Specific Techniques | Summary

Pearls of Wisdom – In General

It is said, "A picture is worth a thousand words". This figure comes close:[4]

Figure 1: Typical life cycle (life history) of a large project
Figure 1: Typical life cycle (life history) of a large project

Note that this is a large project covering an eight-year period, and in the author's mind "Project Management" is called up only over a short period between milestone: "6 Authorization" and milestone: "13 Handover". This stance is not unusual. However, the "Project" itself starts at milestone "1 Original Concept". That's when serious money starts flowing, and those expenditures may well be capitalized as a part of the project cost, at least partially.

If this is true, then shouldn't activities 2 through 5 also be "project managed"?

Indeed, the author cites the case of implementing large-scale organizational change initiatives, where staff resist change, have concerns over possible redundancies, or simply resent coping with the teething problems that inevitably arise. But as Dennis observes:[5]

"In recent years these difficulties have led to new ways of assessing and managing the benefits realization of management of change and IT projects. It is now recognized that the benefits realization process should start during early project definition by establishing benchmarks that can be put in place in the business plan. These benchmarks have some similarity with the milestones set in the project execution plans of all projects, but for management change and IT projects there are two important differences:

  1. The most important benchmarks often occur some time after initial handover ...
  2. Each benchmark must be directly associated with a cash inflow, cost saving or other real benefit that can be tracked to a favorable entry in the company's accounts or management reports."

There's nothing like optimism! What if the project is an "enabler" project, just one steppingstone on the way to a larger end goal? Or maybe it is a part of a group of projects that are all necessary for the whole system to work. Who is to say what benefit is attributable to which project? Besides, who is collecting that kind of data in the first place? Collection of benefits data and allocation to corresponding projects is fraught with difficulties.

In this book, Dennis postulates four main project types:[6]

  1. Civil engineering, construction, petrochemical, mining and quarrying projects
  2. Manufacturing projects
  3. Management and business change projects
  4. Scientific research projects

Each type is described in some detail. However, the author warns the reader that: "This book is generally concerned with projects that can be defined, as described in the [descriptions of the] first three categories listed."[7]

Book Structure  Book Structure

4. Ibid, p5, Figure 1.2 in the book
5. Ibid, p11
6. Ibid, p2
7. Ibid, p3
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