Published here November, 2003.

Introduction | First Impressions | Shifts in Focus
Comments on Other Chapters | Downside | Summary


In some parts of the book there are attempts to satisfy the current demand for gender equality, especially when referring to the project manager as he, she, him or her. Sudden introduction of the female form tends to disrupt the reader's flow of understanding. Personally, we have little time for special interest groups insistent upon disrupting the English language for short-term political gains. Still, there are ways around this unfortunate political fact of life. For example "If all required people are placed directly under the project manager her role is quite similar to ..."[31] could readily be changed to "If all required people are placed directly under the project manager then this role is quite similar to ..."

In a discussion of filling the role of project manager, Russ suggests "The effectiveness of a project manager is directly related to the continuity of responsibility through the life cycle of the project. . . [But when] the current project manager knows that at a certain point she will hand over the project to someone else, then the project manager will very likely cover up problems and defer difficult issues and hand them off to the new project manager."[32] This seems to be an unfortunate aspersion cast on our female counterparts (given our gender comments above). That aside, we contend that the range of management styles required across the full project life cycle, and hence personality types, is so broad as to be almost impossible to find a single person suited to filling the entire role.

An interesting section devoted to "Multiproduct Operations Planning and Control"[33] describes the nature of the problem for top management is "to have confidence that planning is directed toward optimum corporate and project performance."[34] However, in this section projects are treated rather like the production of custom widgets being processed in a manufacturing facility. This might be fine for the coordination of marketing and engineering in, say, a custom sheet metal job shop or even a custom-order production facility, but seems unsuited to large-scale unique or relatively unique high-technology projects.

The Appendices, '76, included several valuable checklists. We were sorry to see these dropped in favor of a single Appendix, '03, devoted to "An important concept for effective project management ... using advanced planning and analysis methods coupled with an advanced project management computer software application package"[35] widely used in Russia. While interesting, it seemed to us out-of-place to be promoting a single software package in a general work of this kind.

Comments on Other Chapters  Comments on Other Chapters

31. '03, p160.
32. '03, p95.
33. '03, pp192-198.
34. '03, p193.
35. '03, Appendix, p361.
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page