Published here July, 2009.

Introduction | Book Structure
What We Liked |  Downside | Summary


Tom Kendrick is no stranger to these pages. In 2006 we reviewed his book The Project Management Tool Kit a very useful reference book and a couple of years later he has written the current book. The title is beguiling because many project managers, especially those new to the discipline, feel burdened by the responsibility of producing Results without Authority. The subtitle poses a good question: How do you control a project when the team does not report (directly) to you?

Notwithstanding Tom's years of experience with Hewlett Packard, we suspect that the question is somewhat overstated. "Your" team may not report to you in the traditional sense of the corporate hierarchical organization chart in which you have line responsibility for the care and keeping of your staff including salary and employment. However, you do have a responsibility for conducting productive work - upon which their continued employment depends!

If you are not sure about that, call your first project team meeting and see who shows up. Those who don't, without even an abject apology, are clearly not a part of your team. For those who do show up, assuming you exercise an appropriate degree of finesse, will be committed. Of course, if no one shows up, your project is probably not worth doing in the first place and you know where you stand.

As Tom explains:

"When you're a project manager with a team of people who don't technically report to you, your challenge is to get results Without Authority. This book delivers proven techniques for controlling projects and managing diverse teams in a wide variety of situations, and bringing those projects to a successful closure. The concepts in this book are essential for all project managers, with or without authority, because they offer a productive alternative to "command and control" management techniques that can easily backfire."[1]

It goes without saying that you, yourself, must be thoroughly convinced of the righteousness of your project's outcome and can make an impassioned case for its execution.

Much as we have felt on numerous occasions that we would like to pound our fist on the table and tell someone to "Get on with it. Don't argue and do as you are told." We have equally learned that while this does satisfy the pounder, it produces no results other than flat resentment. By the same token, we rather wish that Tom had not placed so much emphasis on the word "controlling". In this present day of enlightenment, and knowledge workers, the concept of "command and control" is long outmoded. You don't control a project, you lead it!

Yes, yes, we know that the latest PMBOK® Guide is rife with the word "control" (just check out the index[2]) but you will notice that the references are to systems control - the control of things. The word is carefully avoided in the Project Human Resource Management chapter. There the operative word is "manage".


1. Kendrick, T., A Project Manager's Guide, Results without Authority, AMACOM, New York, 2006, back cover
2. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) - Fourth Edition, Project Management Institute, 2008, Table of Contents
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