Author Jolyon Hallows is a friend of mine and I am reviewing his book, not because of that, but because of the value of the
book and to make a few points in the process. The book's title suggests that the subject matter is about project management
in the information systems field. In a sense it is, but what it is really about is managing the technology of information systems
as a project manager. Our first impression is that this book is about project managing software projects. However, the author
assures us that it is more than that – it also includes infrastructure such as server installations, network design, and
services such as information management.
That differentiation between project management and technology management may be subtle or even nonexistent to many. However, I think it is very important simply because it answers a perennial question. That question is: "How much do I need to know about the technology of the project I am working with to be an effective project manager in this domain?"
You see, project management and technology management are two separate areas of study. The first will stand you in good stead working on most projects in most domains most of the time. However, the second is what you need to know on a specific project to be able to understand what is, or should be, going on! As Jolyon observes at the beginning in his Acknowledgements:
"This book arises from my own personal studies of project management, my many years of working in and managing projects, and the scars I have accumulated to prove it."
Later in Acknowledgements Jolyon says:
"Finally, I give special thanks to my wife Sandra, to whom this book is dedicated, for her support and love during many times over the years that I questioned whether being a project manager was worth it."
Of course, with that introduction I just couldn't resist turning to the end of the book to find out the answer to that question. On the last page Jolyon says:
"We need to find and develop people who can work with special ambiguities of project life, who can master the intricacies needed in project planning and execution, and who are powerful managers of themselves and their teams. Such people are not common. Computer systems careers lead more readily to advanced technical expertise or line management. Project management is too often seen as a stepping-stone to 'real' management or as a useful ancillary set of skills for technical leaders. Neither view is likely to produce people who are eager to make project management a lifetime career."
"This book, like others that celebrate project management as a worthwhile vocation, is an attempt to describe the complex world of projects and the range of skills needed to manage them. Above all, I have two hopes: that organizations will recognize the significance of project management in their formal career streams and that project managers will emerge who embrace the challenges and rewards inherent in a needed, exciting, and fulfilling profession."
So there you have it. If you are one of those people, plunge right in.
1. Hallows, J., Information Systems Project Management, AMACOM, 2005