Published here February, 2004.

Introduction | Book Structure
What We Liked | Downside | Summary

Book Structure

The book contains thirteen sections each with a number of chapters ranging up to six in each for a total of 41. The chapters are generally short and to the point, often based on previous material that Harvey has written. He claims that the book may be read from cover to cover as a complete guide to practical project management. If you decide on this course, the sections you will cover in order are:[1]

  1. Setting up the Project management Operation
  2. Getting started
  3. Scheduling
  4. Resource and Workforce Management
  5. Budgeting and cost control
  6. Risk management and Contingency
  7. Maintaining the Plan
  8. Performance Measurement
  9. Project Portfolio Management
  10. Project Management, Enterprise Project Management and Enterprise Resource Planning
  11. Project Management and Professional Services Automation
  12. Tools of the Trade
  13. Making Project Management Work

However, in the Preface, Harvey describes how certain chapters may be selected to satisfy various types of information seekers. For example: For those looking to understand the basics, a subset of 15 chapters is recommended. For specific focused topics in the style of editorials, 10 are recommended. For in-depth topics disclosing the "finer points", another 11 are listed and, finally for a few way-out subjects, three are identified.[2]

True, that as a result of this structure, there is some duplication, but we did not find this objectionable. As Harvey observes:[3]

Project management is a many-faceted discipline. It will usually involve project scoping, task planning and scheduling, resource planning and workforce management, budgeting and cost control, risk and contingency management, change management, and project closeout. And while we are doing this, we will need to apply skills in maintaining quality, avoiding scope creep, and managing extensive and sensitive communication, with numerous stakeholders, in widespread locations.

Actually, we've yet to come across a project manager that actually does all of these things, at the same time, on the same project, at least without a lot of assistance. But Harvey goes on to say:

All of these skills that are specific to project management must be applied by individuals who are also endowed with the more traditional management skills:
  1. The ability to lead and work with others
  2. The ability to converse with technical experts in their applied field
  3. The ability to interface with operations, finance, and human resources personnel
  4. The ability to participate in strategic and operational planning
  5. The ability to mentor, negotiate, and make decisions.

That is some competence profile, but then he gives us some comfort by adding:

While the breadth of project management is indeed wide, the subject really isn't that complex. Failures in project management are more likely to come from trying to take excessive shortcuts than from not mastering the requisite knowledge.

Cherish that thought!

Introduction  Introduction

1. Levine, H.A., Practical Project Management, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., NY, 2002, pp v-vii
2. Ibid. pp xv-xvii
3. Ibid. p xiii-xiv
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