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 May 2018.

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary

What We Liked

Chapter 1 introduces the concept of a P2 LEAN Framework for planning and managing complex IT and HT projects that the authors define as follows:[4]

If you have difficulty in understanding that, you will find the Glossary[5] at the back of the book most helpful. Indeed, we particularly liked the availability of such an extensive Glossary of terms, many of which are very specific to the type of work described in the book.

This book is well written and in a clear style.[6] It is also well illustrated by charts, diagrams and boxes presenting specific highlights. Given the comments presented earlier, we would describe the book's content as not necessarily easy reading but rather academic and relatively heavy reading for all but those already immersed in large complex IT and HT projects. Nevertheless, it is highly interesting for its re-purposing of tools and techniques that are known to be reliable and realistic in the project domains of other industry and product sectors.

We particularly liked the systematic way in which the book's content is laid out. As previously listed, there are four Parts that cover: (1) An Overview of the Integrated Adaptive Agile and PRINCE2 LEAN Framework that the authors have devised; (2) An "Ideation" phase; (3) A set-up phase; (4) An execution Phase; followed by (5) A wrap up summary: "Putting it all together".

The chapters are similarly well constructed in that all begin with some relevant classic quotations to brighten the chapter going forward, and then clearly describe the chapter's learning objectives. Finally, after presenting learned content, each chapter concludes with a "Putting it all together" paragraph as a chapter wrap-up. It is also worth noting that for a project to be managed under the described system, there is significant work to be done in the early Phases and their respective Stages before you get to the Execution Phase. We mention this because there are many PM practitioners who think or feel, wrongly, that a project does not really begin until actual product is begun being produced in the active stages of the Execution Phase.

Some examples of the above-mentioned introductory quotations follow:

"It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time." Winston Churchill, English Prime Minister.[7]

"Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitment. They do not determine the future; they are the means to mobilize the resources and energies for making the future." Peter F. Drucker, Management consultant and writer.[8]

"To tend, unfailingly, unflinchingly, towards a goal, is the secret of success." Anna Pavlova, Russian ballerina.[9]

Some of the benefits claimed for using P2 LEAN are described in the book as follows:[10]

  • "P2 LEAN uses established and proven best practices and governance for project management."
  • "P2[11] is flexible, but using its flexibility takes a lot of experience. The chapter on tailoring the method just doesn't get you there on its own. P2 LEAN actually explains how to tailor the method."
  • "P2 LEAN has adjusted the P2 project responsibilities, but we believe it has made the organization structure more effective, certainly for complex projects."
  • "P2 has a good management by exception philosophy, but P2 LEAN with its agile concept of rigid time and cost parameters for a stage, removes a huge percentage of the exception situations. Problems and unfinished work are put in the Scope Bank for evaluation when planning the Next Stage."

If the project management approach can achieve those ideals in the types of project described, then a close study of this book is well worth the time and effort spent.

Book Structure  Book Structure

4. Ibid, p5
5. See Appendix A. This Glossary contains a significant number of definitions and Acronyms that are specific to the type of product development described in the book.
6. This is assuming the reader recognizes the time and effort required to absorb the new ideas and approach that are presented here by the authors.
7. Ibid, p61
8. Ibid, p121
9. Ibid, p201
10. Ibid, p245
11. Ibid, P2 — That is to say PRINCE2, the original European project management methodology — competitor to PMI's PMBOK Guide.
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