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 June 2018

Introduction | Book Structure | What We Liked - Part 1
What We Liked - Part 2 | Downside | Summary


After just reading the book's title and the text quote at the beginning of this review, potential readers of all stripes may be forgiven for thinking that here we have a whole new approach to the subject of project management. In other words, they may think that SitPM is yet another Philosopher's Stone in the search for project success that should be evaluated against the many other offerings promoted in the market place.

If readers should think that, then we strongly demur.

The reality is, that this book is about project management in real life and for any and all projects of any significant size, complexity, duration, significance or any other dimension. That is to say nothing of different domains and/or different industry/product sectors. So don't be misled.

We did, however, find many paragraphs that are either unnecessarily long or even excessively long.[13] More "white space" would have made the book easier to read as well as being more easily assimilated. Consequently, we would describe the book as only moderately easy reading.

In Chapter 4, Oliver opens with the observation:[14]

"In this chapter, several topics may seem to be repeated, especially the tension field between predictable and Agile projects. There is nevertheless a fundamental difference, because in this chapter, the question is not what the project is, but how you approach and manage it."

He goes on to say:[15]

"When you are assigned to a project, you have only a few options to select from: yes, no, and maybe a 'yes, but ...' Often, there is not an option to say no."

We are inclined to disagree. In our view, a good project manager should stand up and say something like:[16] "Thank you — I really like the look of this challenge. Please give me a couple of days to do some homework and I'll get back to you." This gives you a chance to come back and negotiate the resources you'll need to be successful.

You may think that this ploy is a one way to the exit door. But assuming the company is worth its salt and you are dealing with a seasoned manager, you will be respected for standing your ground and your evident determination to succeed.

What We Liked - Part 2  What We Liked - Part 2

13. A good example of lack of white space is on p7. The paragraph on this page occupies 29 lines, consisting of 16 sentences, one of which contains 51 words. Compare this with the recommended structure described in Issacon IAC #1453 "The Wideman 3-4-5 Principle" slide #7. On this basis there should be at least three separate paragraphs. Another similar example is to be found on page 12.
14. Ibid, p139
15. Ibid.
16. Assuming it is a project of some significance ...
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