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 July 2015

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Tailoring the Principles and Practices for Project Success | Downside | Summary

Tailoring the Principles and Practices for Project Success

We were very pleased to see that this complex arrangement of "Performance-Based Project Management" can, and should, be tailored to various kinds of project. Interestingly, the author does not classify projects according to the anticipated cost, the expected duration, the number of stakeholders, and so on, as is most typical. Rather, the tailoring of the Performance-Based Project Management practices and processes has three levels:[17]

  1. Level 1: Minimal implementation of the practices. The project is small, the desired outcomes are known, the users are identified, and they agree on the outcomes. The technology or processes are known to work. The 'value at risk' is low. There is high confidence in the budget and schedule.
  2. Level 2: Moderate implementation of the practices. The project is developing something new within a known technical or operational domain. Teams of people who have the right skills and experience but may not have worked with each other before create issues that go beyond just the technical risks.
  3. Level 3: Major implementation of the practices. When the project is complex and risky, we must apply all of the elements of each practice to the project.

In short, before executing any project, you should figure out its "Level" (of required management) and apply that level accordingly.

Three examples of Project Management Execution

We really enjoyed reading Chapter 5, which is dedicated to demonstrating how to apply these principles, practices, and processes across three simplified, hypothetical, but real-world projects, namely:

  1. A Personal Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) using commercial off-the-shelf parts, the Internet community, and some mechanical, electrical and software skills, capable of following a person on a bike and taking video, all for under $1000.
  2. A kitchen remodeling using a kitchen designer and general contractor to achieve top-shelf built-in appliances, gas range and oven, granite counter tops, hardwood floors, wine bar, coffee bar for around $60,000, all to the satisfaction to the "stakeholder".[18]
  3. A Health Insurance Provider ERP System consisting of an "off-the-shelf" claims processing system with a moderate amount of customization designed to integrate legacy systems, migration of all legacy records, training, rollout, and go live for about $100 million. This is a serious project, one that "bets the company" on its success.

In each case, as you might have guessed, is the key question: What constitutes "done"?

What We Liked  What We Liked

17. Ibid, p165
18. Ibid, p137. "There is only one stakeholder — the 'monarch' of [the author's] kitchen." (p138)
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