What We Liked
While we did read the book from cover to cover to unearth those pearls of Harvey's wisdom, we tended to skip over the well-worn path of scheduling software application and instead dug around for a few gems. For example, we enjoyed being reminded that:
- A pure Functional Organization is a poor model for the execution of projects.
- The more that people participate in the development of a plan, the more likely they are to support it.
- Effective cost management, through the utilization of project management software systems, is an elusive objective. (To this he might have added - the same applies to corporate accounting systems, because) Frankly, financial managers and project managers are from two different worlds. But [the systems do] have to be connected.
- We can use the project life cycle as one of our work breakdown structures - essentially a phase-oriented WBS. (Now there's a thought to raise the hackles of WBS aficionados!)
- Project management is both an art and a science. (We tend to overlook that.)
- I strongly disagree with Goldratt's policy that we eliminate management by milestones.
- There is a world of difference between data and information. If the data cannot be arranged in ways to provide insight into projects situations, then it is essentially useless. (The same may be said of reports that reflect only historical information and give no indication of when and where the project will be at its end.)
- (On resource allocation) The project manager is interested in getting the resource on the job that can perform the work up to standards at the lowest cost. The functional manager's emphasis is on getting the maximum applied hours for their staff.
- (On scheduling contingency) My experience has been that as much time can be lost between tasks as in the execution of the tasks themselves.
- (On risk) Wishing that bad things won't happen is almost a sure way of establishing an atmosphere that will breed unwanted events.
Harvey also shares some interesting insights in discussions of these topics:
- Goldratt's critical chain theory and the concept of shared contingency rather than distributed contingency.
- Concepts and issues relating to project budgeting and cost control.
- Using and managing different types of contingency.
- The dangers of establishing real-time status information versus period reporting.
- Thoughts on project portfolio management and enterprise-wide project management, and
- The psychological contract: How to stimulate initiative and innovation in any organization.
4. Ibid. p14
5. Ibid. p45
6. Ibid. p57
7. Ibid. p159
8. Ibid. p173
9. Ibid. p65
10. Ibid. p74
11. Ibid. p87
12. Ibid. p128
13. Ibid. p166
14. Ibid. p182
15. Ibid. p277
16. Ibid. Ch 3.2
17. Ibid. Ch 5.1
18. Ibid. Ch 6.1
19. Ibid. Ch 7.2
20. Ibid. Sections 9 and 10
21. Ibid. Ch 13.5