What We Liked: Ronald's Perspective
As author Ronald Cagle observes in the Preface, project management is a hot topic because projects are the nerve center of a company and it's where new products come from and where profits are made or lost. Old hands might do well to remember that! He is also careful to explain:
"There's a lot of detail in this book. But even with all the detail, you may need to do some interpolation to find exactly where you stand in all of this. The book is also broad. But even with its breadth, you may need to do some extrapolation to create a direction for yourself that will meet your long-term goals. But, after all, interpolation and extrapolation are a big part of project management. It is not simple and straightforward and must be treated as a complex subject. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, project management is not a simple 'Read a book, take a test, and you an do it' exercise ..."
Amen to that!
Ronald also says he refers to project management as a discipline and not a profession. Why? As he sees it, for example:
"Engineering is a profession, electrical engineering is a discipline. Accounting is a profession, cost accounting is a discipline. Management is a profession, project management is a discipline."
In other words, project management is a part of a larger picture. A simple argument, well put, though we feel sure that there are many who would like to think otherwise and present a counter argument.
Ronald recounts what it takes to be successful in project management starting out with several "Preparatory Skill Sets" such as "Meeting and Presentation Skills" and "Enterprise Policies, Plans and Procedures". Of the latter he says:
"This is the simplest of all the skills. All you need to do is read, understand, and remember the policies, plans, processes, and procedures established by your company. If you are working for a company, you must understand how the company does business. Now that may seem like an obvious recommendation, but it is amazing the number of people, especially those who 'know it all', who don't take the time to read the policy manuals of the company. This can really get you into trouble, especially when you are composing your project plan."
This does assume that the said policies (and procedures) are up-to-date and readable, but that aside, this is very good advice. In fact, given the other laggards around, there is a fair chance you will already know more than many of your colleagues.
1. Cagle, Ronald B., Your Successful Project Management Career, AMACOM, New York, 2005, p x
2. Ibid, p xi
3. Ibid, p41