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 May 2019

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Summary


A very useful introduction to this book has been written by Dr. Gary L. Richardson, PMI Professor of Project Management at the University of Houston. He says:[1]

"They're everybody's dream assignments — the ones that offer you chances to work directly with senior executives. These opportunities can be launch pads for career success — or lead to misfires that can set you back. It all depends on how well you 'speak executive'. Fluency in the motivations and methods of the C‑suite is an essential skill for PMs on the rise, but it is not a natural one. This book, Succeeding with Senior Management is the first and only book out there to correct this critical gap.[2]

Project managers are innately task-focused and detail oriented. In contrast, executives are more focused on overall business goals and often impatient with minutia. That mental divide often leads to miscommunication that alienates executives and sabotages projects. That miscommunication is a deal breaker when you get to the high visibility projects where you simply cannot succeed without engaging the support of senior management.

This back-page text goes on to explain:

You'll learn to: • Think like an executive • Prepare the leadership for success • Build relationships and trust • Master executive-effective communications • Use executives' deputies effectively • Overcome cross-functional issues • Navigate political waters • Engage senior managers on multi-national projects • Handle initiatives that compete with your project • And more.

If you can succeed in all of that you will certainly be doing well, but to do so you first have to find the right project environment where all of this is going on. Given the previous descriptions, one can visualize the sort of organization involved. Not just your ordinary construction company, or your ordinary software company for that matter. It is much more likely with some big organization with a large staff that is involved in international operations, most likely working on high-technology development work and no doubt with some government involvement.

Such opportunities are inevitably severely limited, and you are unlikely to get there in a single leap. You will have to gather relevant experience through smaller organizations where, nonetheless, the advice contained in this book will still be most valuable.

Our take on this book is a little different. Ever since the production of the first Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK 1987) document, we have bewailed the weakness of the project management knowledge area referred to as Information and Communications Management. The majority of this book fills that gap most admirably and is, therefore, a valuable addition to any project manager's library.

About the author

G. Michael Campbell, PMP, has more than 30 years of experience as a project manager. He has a Bachelor's degree from Ohio University and a Master's degree from John Carroll University. He has managed many large, global projects involving senior executives. He is the author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Project Management and Communications Skills for Project Managers (AMACOM Books).


1. Succeeding with Senior Management by G. Michael Campbell, PMP, AMACOM, New York, US, 2017, on the back cover.
2. At least up to this date, 2017.
Home | Issacons | PM Glossary | Papers & Books | Max's Musings
Guest Articles | Contact Info | Search My Site | Site Map | Top of Page