Published February 2010

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary


Strictly speaking, this is a review of two books, namely Project Management Memory Jogger (A Pocket Guide for Project Teams) and Advanced Project Management Memory Jogger (A Pocket Guide for Experienced Project Professionals). Note that the former is for "Project Teams" and the latter for "Experienced Project Professionals", so for clarity we will refer to the former as "PGPT" and to the latter as "PGEPP".

And also, strictly speaking, these are not "books" in the traditional sense but rather, as stated on their respective covers, "Pocket Guides". Indeed, the emphasis here should be on the word "Pocket" because these books are truly pocket sized measuring only 4" x 5 1/2". They are also ring-wire bound so that the pages open comfortably and stay open!

Paula Martin and Karen Tate produced the pocket guide for project teams in 1997. It now claims to have sold over one million copies to happy customers. Undoubtedly, I am one of them as it has been my constant companion and is now somewhat dog-eared. This booklet came about because the sponsoring training company, GOAL/QPC, was asked by their clients to develop a simple project management reference tool. The objective was to help their project sponsors, team leaders and team members to work more effectively together to complete projects on-time and within budget. Oh, yes, and throw in "with exceptional results" for good measure.

As the author's promotional material states:

"This handy pocket guide provides a project road map to enable teams to prepare for, charter, execute, and close out successful projects. Key concepts in each step of the project management process are illustrated in a case study that parallels the process. Each step also includes a discussion of why and how to complete each portion of the process. A valuable asset that can be customized to incorporate your organization's unique culture and business goals, the Project Management Memory Jogger explains the skills and knowledge [that] team members need to apply to each project."[1]

This little book proved to be so popular that, as might be expected, it has now been joined by a whole series of booklets addressing various other aspects of project management. At present count, there are some thirty in all. However, of these, the most relevant to the first publication is the second book: Advanced Project Management Memory Jogger, by Karen Tate and Cynthia Stackpole, published in 2006. The keen observer will note that the second book effectively captures the advances in project management thinking and practice over the intervening nine years.

An important aspect of these booklets is that they are not slavish descriptions of accepted project management theory. Rather, they are basic descriptions of how to do a project and/or how to deal with various challenges and problem solving that inevitably arise in the course of a project. The material is also largely generic, so that it is not encumbered with any particular technology methodology. However, the Project Teams guide does differentiate between three types of project essentially by drawing a distinction based on size and degree of complexity.


1. accessed 12/29/09
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